Storms recently brought down long-loved trees with many climbing memories, trampolines soared to new heights and found new homes precariously balanced on roof tops, roofs not originally intended to now have skylights, and many businesses and residences went without power for days.
I know there is much to be discouraged, disappointed or even angry about when power isn’t restored, cherished things are damaged and insurance battles begin. However, having spent the past year in Third World nations, I invite my fellow Hoosiers and Buckeyes to see things from a different perspective.
My observations from the past weeks were as such:
Families, neighbors and strangers coming together to share generators, offer freezer space or simply invite others over for reprieve from the intense heat.
Businesses and employees cheerfully sacrificing and altering schedules, adjusting to meet the needs of a slightly flustered population of customers/clients.
Strangers and friends sharing stories and truly listening to the experiences of their fellow man, knowing that their heartache and struggle were important to both share and to be heard.
Community coming together to care for and improve the temporarily difficult living conditions for its own people.
Workers, both local and from around the country, sacrificing their Independence Day holiday to travel to the Midwest to restore electricity as quickly as possible.
It is important to remember that while some may have gone a day or even a week without electricity …. 25 percent of the world (1.6 billion people) does not have access to electricity 365 days a year.
In her column (June 15), Andrea Neal exposed the controversy surrounding Indiana’s “perplexing” decision to abandon its previous academic standards, which were rated as some of the very best in the country, in favor of the clearly inferior nationalized Common Core Math and English Language Arts standards.
What is perplexing is how Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett defends the Common Core standards on the grounds that they are “fewer, clearer and deeper” than the Indiana standards they supplanted. As Neal mentioned, prior to Indiana’s adoption of the Common Core, the Fordham Institute (which is pro-Common Core) released a report that rated Indiana’s previous standards as superior.
Equally baffling is Bennett’s assertion that Indiana must adopt a national curriculum and replace the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) with a federally funded test in order to compare our achievement levels with those of other states. That’s the purpose of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), created in the 1960s. We do not need to dumb-down Indiana education just so that we can compare our students with those in other states.
The arguments for junking Indiana’s superior standards, in favor of a one-size-fits-all, top-down model, ring hollow to Hoosier ears. It’s now up to the next governor and legislature to get us out of this costly, monolithic mess. They can do so by supporting Sen. Scott Schneider’s legislation to withdraw from the Common Core, thereby paving the way for real education reform that would distinguish Indiana as a leader, not a follower.
Heather H. Crossin