Wichita school board opposes anti-Common Core measure

Wichita school board members on Monday said doing away with Common Core would be “almost impossible” and could endanger Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

“We would start with nothing,” said board member Lynn Rogers. “There really are no materials probably anywhere in the country that are not aligned with Common Core at this point.”

At board president Betty Arnold’s suggestion, the board voted 6-0 to draft a resolution opposing Substitute House Bill 2292, which would compel Kansas districts to develop new standards for reading, math and other subjects.

The bill passed out of the House Education Committee last week and is awaiting a first hearing on the House floor.

“Our Kansas standards are not Common Core, but they are based on that kind of information,” said board member Sheril Logan. “So we’re literally throwing out everything we have and starting from ground zero. Talk about putting us in a bind – that’s crazy.”

Critics have said the measure could affect and possibly do away with AP and IB because it would require their exams and course materials to be aligned with new non-Common Core standards. Such courses currently are modeled on national or international frameworks and at least in part on Common Core.

Some proponents of the bill have said AP, IB and similar programs would not be dismantled.

Aaron Santry, president of the IB Parents Association at East High School in Wichita, addressed school board members on Monday in opposition to the bill.

“To me, it says IB, AP, even SAT and ACT, which are not aligned to Kansas standards – they’re aligned to Common Core – would be illegal,” Santry said. “I’ve reached out to several representatives and have not been able to get clarification on what this means.”

Wichita superintendent John Allison said he doesn’t know how districts could have standards that don’t overlap Common Core in some way.

“I’m not sure what we’d teach – butter churning, maybe?” Allison said. “As you look at those standards, those standards are not 100 percent new. They are an overlap of what has been foundational.”

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias