Despite Criticism, No Changes Likely to Oklahoma Common Core Plan

Nearly all states are working to implement the new Common Core Standards, but many parents and teachers across the country are standing in opposition to implementation plans and calling for a rollback of support for CCS.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education officials said that they will move ahead with their plans to implement the standards despite continued opposition. The officials seem to be more confident than they were earlier this year, writes Michael King of Oklahoma Watch.

In May, education officials indicated it was somewhat likely that the state's decision to adopt Common Core Standards would be reversed, limited or changed, according to a national survey conducted by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University.

The Education Department said public opposition and opposition from state legislators were reasons for a possible change in the state's 2010 decision to adopt the standards. According to Tricia Pemberton, assistant director of communications at the education department, now the department's answer would be different. "We would change that response to ‘not likely,'" she said.

"In the education community, teachers say, by and large, that they like the new, more rigorous standards," Pemberton added. "They don't necessarily want to see it changed."

The Education Department is working to help train educators to put Common Core standards in math and English language arts into practice in the classroom. Between about half and three-fourths of teachers, and a fourth of principals, had received some professional training on using Common Core, according to officials.

The new standards, which will be effective in the 2014-2015 school year, are designed to be more challenging and to improve students' critical thinking. All but five states have adopted the standards.

Oklahoma students lag their peers in most other states in academic performance. On the math and reading assessments on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Oklahoma's 4th and 8th graders scored lower than their peers in 40 other states.

Parents, educators and lawmakers have expressed opposition to Common Core. According to critics, the standards represent a federal intrusion into state and local education policy and will not lead to better student achievement. Some teachers are concerned that the benchmarks will increase the amount of classroom time devoted to testing.

A bill, drafted by Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, would require the Oklahoma Board of Education to halt implementation of "any curriculum standards or related assessments aligned with the K-12 Common Core State Standards" by July 1, 2014. The bill would also require changing any agreement that makes using Common Core a condition for receiving federal funds.

Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne plans to introduce a bill that would eliminate the requirement that school districts use Common Core and allow districts to keep the current standards or use standards tested elsewhere.

Oklahoma is developing its own social studies and science standards. Along with Common Core standards for math and English, the state has designated all of them Oklahoma Academic Standards.

12 12, 2013
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