Thursday, September 26, 2013

Common Core-Coming to a School Near You?

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

For the past several months I have been learning a lot about the Common Core. This is a new standards model that is going into effect in our schools now. The State of Ohio decided in 2010 to adopt the Common Core English and Math standards to bring a more rigorous curriculum to our schools. This was part of a movement that started in local schools and was adopted by the state to align with other states. At this time Ohio is not changing standards for Science, Social Studies or any other subject.

The Common Core Standards for English and Math are being implemented in schools across the country. As the new standards are implemented this school year and next, parents should pay close attention to the materials used to teach students in our local schools.

Throughout the process of implementing the Common Core standards, decisions have been accompanied by deadlines before printed materials were prepared.

There are three prime examples:

  • In 2010 the previous administration approved the adoption of new common core standards for English and Math education before the standards were written.
  • Later in the process, funding and support for the implementation of the PARCC assessment was needed to modernize schools with wireless internet and electronic devices because the PARCC is an online test. This is a new standardized test to measure student achievement in the Common Core.
  • Now, the standards are being implemented into classrooms, but curriculum is not available for review.

The lack of information on what is coming forward raises concern because it is like giving a blank check to a stranger. After reviewing the standards that are being used, most changes are a matter of switching grade levels where content is taught. When the curriculum becomes available it is important to examine it to be sure it matches our values.

West Central Ohio has the best schools in the State. As long as we have the best schools in the state it is important for teachers to keep doing what has made our young people successful. In Ohio, we are lucky that our schools receive state and local funding, but are locally controlled. This ultimately means that our school administrators will determine what curriculum is presented in the classroom. As always, it is important for parents to establish a positive relationship with their children’s teachers.

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