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Don’t block Common Core

  • Published Thursday, May 23, 2013, at 12 a.m.

A proposal to block the Kansas State Board of Education and school districts from spending any state funding to implement the Common Core standards, the Next Generation science standards, or any assessments associated with the two was proposed last week during conference committee negotiations on the state budget. This measure failed to pass either chamber earlier this session and, in fact, was defeated in the House Education Committee on a vote of 11-7.

Because of the critical impact of such an action on the students we serve, our three organizations are urging state lawmakers to oppose any action that would halt or delay implementation of these standards. To this end, we offer the following facts to support implementation of the Common Core standards:

•  We support these standards because they establish rigorous academic standards in English language arts and mathematics, and define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each grade to be college- or career-ready upon high school graduation.

•  These standards are included in the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards, and our schools, under the guidance of the state board, have already invested significant resources and time in preparing our members to implement the standards.

•  The standards are not a mandate of the federal government. They were created through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. States that adopted the standards were able to provide input into their development and to add state-specific content.

•  The standards are not curriculum; rather they identify where students should be academically at any given time.

•  The standards are benchmarked to international standards to ensure our students are competitive both at home and internationally.

•  The standards provide increased stability and a more seamless transition for students in military families who move frequently.

•  Business leaders – such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Boeing, Bayer Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., Xerox and the National Defense Industrial Association – support the Common Core standards and stated they believe the standards hold “great promise for creating a more highly skilled workforce that is better equipped to meet the needs of local, state and national economies.”

Again, we strongly urge lawmakers to oppose any efforts to defund or otherwise halt the implementation of the Common Core standards in our state. Join us in ensuring that Kansas students continue to be among the most college- and career-ready, both at home and in the world.

John Heim is executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards. Karen Godfrey is president of the Kansas National Education Association. Cheryl L. Semmel is executive director of the United School Administrators of Kansas.

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