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Educators Share Views On Common Core After Political Swipe In Legislature

As state legislators mull budget proposals, one lawmaker recently used a bill to take a sarcastic swipe at Common Core opponents about the same time that they rallied at the Capitol in Jefferson City.
As state legislators mull budget proposals, one lawmaker recently used a bill to take a sarcastic swipe at Common Core opponents about the same time that they rallied at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Common Core Standards, known now in the Show-Me State as the the Missouri Learning Standards, is already being implemented in the lower grades.

"We want to prepare kids for college and for their jobs, so it's making us step it up," Nixa Public Schools Instructional Specialist Debby Money said. "We're finding out we're still teaching very similarly to how we have in the past."

Money said Common Core standards are used as guidelines to better prepare students for the future and enhance rigor. 

"As the kids go up in grad level, some of the things that used to be taught in junior high will be taught in fifth grade," Money said. "As far as us teaching something off he wall that we've never taught before, that's not happening."

"We are still writing our curriculum," Nixa Public Schools Executive Director Kevin Kopp said.

Copp said the standards are a target, not a mandated road map.

"It's essentially a framework for goals, what common core does not do is it does not tell districts how to teach it does not tell our teachers how to teach. We still have local control of that," Copp said.

The standards are causing controversy in and outside the state capital, where a bill to poke fun at common core opponents, proposed by Rep. Mike Lair, allocated eight dollars for tin foil hats that would, "deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology.”

"It's essentially all politics," Dr. Mary Byrne, a former educator and education professional turned activist through the Missouri Education Watchdog group.

Byrne travels all over Missouri to speak against the Common Core, which is sponsored by the National Governors Association.

"Make no mistake it started with governors all over the country," Byrne said. "Clearly when you go back to the statutes that are cited, the common core standards don't meet the statutory requirement."

Byrne said the inception and implementation takes the power away from local districts.

"The corporations that funded these standards had authors sitting at the table writing the standards, produced the material to teach to the standards and got the contracts from the consortia to create the tests in alignment with those standards," she said.

Byrne and about 500 other Missourians rallied in Jefferson City against the standards late last week.

"I just would like to ask those people who say this is to prepare students for the twenty first century global economy how they know what jobs will be available at that time," Byrne said.

It's a debate that will likely continue throughout the Show-Me State, and one that Copp said could be good for education in the long run.

"I think as school districts we need to see that as an opportunity to invite parents in and answer those questions," he said. "It's an exciting timesin education really if we look at it the right way."
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