Cape school board asked to be wary of Common Core

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Former state representative Mary Kasten addressed the Cape Girardeau School Board Monday asking it to keep a vigilant watch over how Common Core Standards are implemented Cape Girardeau schools.

The standards are a set of expectations adopted by more than 45 states that will replace the Missouri Grade- and Course-Level expectations for English/language arts and mathematics for grades K-12 statewide by the fall of 2014.

"I'm concerned about the Common Core," she said. "I feel like this is another infringement of the federal government into our lives."

Kasten fears Common Core is a step toward nationalizing education, which she said is by law a state function.

She asked the board to be careful not to let the federal government step in and take over what is rightfully its responsibility.

"I sometimes feel like the federal government is like a great big octopus, out there sucking in the freedom from all areas of our life," she said. "I don't want that to happen to the schools."

She said she has spoken to Dr. Jim Welker, superintendent of the district, about how the schools will implement the new standards, which will go into effect this year.

"We all share the concern that we want the best for our kids," Kasten said. "We do not want them to be conformed; we do not want them to be limited in pursuing their best interests."

When asked by board member Jeff Glenn if she had particular grievances against specific parts of the standards or the idea of Common Core in general, Kasten said her greatest objection was the lack of flexibility she anticipates local districts will have.

Kasten served as a state representative for more than 18 years.

Other business

* This year's new Community Teachers Association president, Robin McKinley, introduced herself at the meeting. She said the position will become a two-year term from now on so the president has more time to acclimate to the position and learn how to fill the role. This will be McKinley's seventh year in the association. After this coming year, she will have taught every grade level.

* Welker announced the first day of school will be Aug. 14, a Wednesday, so the district could get in the correct number of days before winter break without holding school for one day the week of Christmas.

* Welker also mentioned that Gov. Jay Nixon will hold a meeting in New Madrid, Mo., to discuss House Bill 253 and its effect on local schools, should it be passed. Nixon vetoed the income tax cut bill last month, but there is a chance the Legislature may override it. Welker said the Cape Girardeau School District could stand to lose between $688,000 and $1.192 million in state aid per year if the bill goes into effect. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. Friday.

botto@semissourian.com

388-3620

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