Public invited to explore Common Core

Monday, April 22, 2013

In response to questions and requests for more information about the Common Core State Standards in education, a public meeting has been scheduled for May 2 at the Career and Technology Center in Cape Girardeau.

Sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the meeting will allow parents and anyone with concerns about Common Core to be heard and have their questions answered.

"An educated public is what we want to have when it comes to Common Core," said Dr. Sherry Copeland, assistant superintendent for the Cape Girardeau Public Schools and a facilitator of the meeting.

Adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010, Common Core standards replaced grade-level requirements for English/language arts and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade. The standards are designed to make sure all students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they will need in college and in a career, and focus on critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication skills.

In Cape Girardeau schools, Copeland said English/language arts and mathematics are aligned with Common Core standards to be implemented in fall 2013.

"This is a way for us to prepare our students to compete in an ever-growing global economy," she said. "Going back to the old requirements isn't going to happen."

Alaina Hinze, a new member of the Jackson School Board, does not like how Common Core was approved in her district. The issue was a central theme of her successful campaign for a board seat.

"Speaking for myself, I'm not against standards in education," Hinze said. "I'm against how these standards were adopted."

According to Hinze, the Missouri Board of Education needed to obtain legislative approval to change the state's educational curriculum, and there was no legislative approval either before or after it signed on to Common Core in 2010. Hinze is concerned organizations that funded Common Core will gain financially from its implementation.

"Textbook publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson have supported Common Core," she said, "and they will be providing the textbooks aligned with the standards."

Common Core standards are expected to be implemented in the Jackson schools in fall 2013, Hinze said.

State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, is planning to attend the May 2 meeting.

"I'm in favor of Common Core," Swan said. "A lot of thought has gone into the standards."

Swan has been a member of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The board is charged with coordinating the state system of higher education, which includes public four-year colleges and universities, public two-year community colleges, one public two-year technical college, independent colleges and universities, proprietary schools and specialized independent schools and colleges and theological institutions.

Swan said Common Core addresses outcomes and expectations for a future economy, but she understands other people may be skeptical of the new standards.

State Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, is skeptical of Common Core but hasn't reached a decision about whether to support the standards.

"I'm not quite there yet," Lichtenegger said. "But it sure seems like we're in a hurry to do this. We need to make sure we're doing the right thing for our kids."

The meeting is scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 110 at the Career and Technology Center.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address: 1080 S. Silver Springs Road, Cape Girardeau, MO

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