McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

March 26, 2014

Oklahoma teachers might be required to prepare for new standards

Ada —

   For the past three years, Ada City Schools officials have drawn up curriculum maps, trained teachers and taken other steps to implement the Common Core academic standards.

   They may have to go back to the drawing board if lawmakers approve a bill allowing the state to withdraw from Common Core and adopt new benchmarks instead.

   “We have taken teams of teachers from every building to training on these Common Core national standards during the summer,” curriculum director Paula Kedy said Tuesday. “They’ve given up their time. We’ve gone with them to make sure they know what this encompasses.

   “And now, to turn back that clock means we’re uncertain again about what they’re going to hand to us.”

   Kedy said school officials will strive to implement any new state-developed standards, just like they took steps to prepare teachers for Common Core.

 

Backing away

   Four years ago, Oklahoma joined 44 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting Common Core for kindergarten through 12th grade. The national standards are designed to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the tools they need to succeed.

   Now, Oklahoma and several other states are backing away from Common Core and considering replacing it with state-developed standards.

   On Monday, the state Senate Education Committee approved a version of a House bill that would replace Common Core standards for English, language arts and math with new requirements. The state Board of Education would have until Aug. 1, 2015, to devise and adopt the new standards.

   Under the bill, student tests tied to the new standards would be implemented by the 2017-18 school year.

   The bill bars the Board of Education from approving contracts with any federal agency or private entity that would limit or eliminate state control over education standards.    Sen. Susan Paddack said she dislikes the bill for several reasons, including its August 2015 deadline for developing a new set of standards.

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