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Everyone Should Get Educated About Common Core [OPINION]

ClassroomWhile most people trust the teachers and staff of local school districts to teach our children what they need to know in order to thrive in their lives after school, that doesn’t seem to be the case at the present time, and the focus of the problem is something called Common Core.

According to the Common Core website, the stated goals of Common Core is to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge to succeed in college, career and life, regardless of where they live. The following video found on the Common Core website briefly explains the state standards.

Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards from CGCS Video Maker on Vimeo.

In 2010, The Missouri State Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core Standards, which are to be fully implemented this year. I have talked to both politicians and educators this week about Common Core Standards for Sedalia Schools. The standards are indeed controversial, and some local educators and local politicians are on opposite sides of the issue.

Missouri House of Representative Republican Kurt Bahr of St. Charles said “Let this education experiment be done on other people’s kids.”  Another member characterized the standards as a federal government overreach taking away local control, a view proponents reject.

In Jefferson City, HB 1490, which was passed through the Committee on Feb. 27, 2014 and is headed for the House floor, could take the decision to implement the standards out of the hands of the State Board of Education according to an article from the Associated Press. According to Missouri’s Teacher of the Year Jamie Manker it would be devastating to the educational system to go back and undo all the curricular work that has already been done since 2010.

Common Core has supporters and opponents in both parties according to papers on the Missouri House of Representative’s website, but the loudest voices seem to be coming from those in the opposition. Genise Montecillo, a Democrat Representative from St. Louis, said the lack of transparency by the department of education made her concerned about the standards, and while some others feel the standards may change once implemented, and Missouri would be locked into them.

According to a document on the Common Core website, 45 states have adopted the standards. Supporter Jamie Manker says the standards provided clear guidance to improve teaching, encourage preparation for the changing global economy and give kids the skills they need to to succeed in life.

I spoke to Missouri State Representative for the 52nd District Stanley Cox on the subject, and Superintendent for Sedalia Schools Brad Pollitt, and Director of Curriculum Carla Wheeler were my guests on “Talk Back Tuesday” on KSIS Radio. My take away from those conversations was that both parties are convinced their view is the right one. It is also obvious that if the wrong decision is made, the losers would be the children of Missouri. The problem with this debate is that it is not loud enough to stir people into becoming more informed.

If you would like to know more on this subject, research “Common Core Standards” or “HB 1490.” The Common Core website has a list of frequently asked questions with information about the standards.

Parents, grandparents, and anyone else who has concerns on this subject need to get enough information from all sources in order to draw their own conclusions, rather than taking a stance based on hearsay or half truths. The least a parent can do is to question both sides to ensure the decision is not made on a party line vote, or to achieve an agenda based on something other than the best outcome for our children.

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