|From the New York Times, “Common Core, in 9-Year Old Eyes:”
“He could have written about the green toy truck he kept hidden in his room, a reminder of Haiti, a place he did not yet fully understand.
“He might have mentioned the second-place trophy he had won for reciting a psalm in French at church – “le bonheur et la grÃ¢ce m’accompagneront tous les jours de ma vie…” – his one and only award.
“He could have noted his dream of becoming an engineer or an architect, to one day have a house with a pool and a laboratory where he would turn wild ideas about winged cars and jet packs into reality.
“But on a windy April afternoon, as the first real sun of spring fell on Public School 397 in Brooklyn, and empty supermarket bags floated through the sky, Chrispin Alcindor’s mind was elsewhere.
“His teacher, Trisha Matthew, had asked the 13 boys and six girls in her fourth-grade class to write self-portrait poems. Some students compared themselves to red foxes and resplendent stars, loud pianos and LeBron James. Chrispin took a different approach.
” ‘I am a 9-year-old,’ he began, ‘who struggles with math.’
“Chrispin had reason to worry. New York’s state exams were two days away, and he was having difficulty dividing large numbers and deciphering patterns. He had once been a model student – the fastest counter in the first grade, his teachers said….”