ADRIAN WALKER’S column on academic standards (“Standards deviation,’’ Metro, July 24) was wrong on several fronts.
First, adopting national education standards is not “tinkering.’’ It directly affects the MCAS, teacher testing, and local curricula, and would slow future efforts to improve our standards.
Second, the Pioneer Institute does not oppose national standards because of gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker’s position. We issued a joint press release with gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill on the topic the same day the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to jettison our state standards.
Dozens of Pioneer reports on standards predate this election cycle; we oppose the national standards because they are weaker than the state standards and open the door to backpedaling on MCAS and teacher testing. William Weld and Tom Birmingham, principal architects of the 1993 education reform act, support our position.
Walker also omits the Patrick administration’s history of significantly altering education reform by eliminating the state’s accountability office, packing the board of education, injecting soft skills into the state curriculum, refusing to implement the US history MCAS test as a graduation requirement, and politicizing the charter school approval process.
Is Pioneer “fiery’’? Perhaps. I prefer feisty and engaged.
Finally, you don’t have to be of Arab descent, as I am, to read Pioneer described as declaring “a jihad’’ and going “nuclear’’ as an attempt to shut down debate on this issue.
Executive director Pioneer Institute Boston
The writer blogs on boston.com.