CO education officials debate whether to take on national curriculum and better chance at funding

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Some states are gaining an edge in the race for federal education money by adopting a new national curriculum. This could mean teachers would have to be more particular in preparing lesson plans.

“The national standards seem to be a little more stringent than our current state standards,” says Kristin Trezise, headmaster of Caprock Academy.

States that take on the federal Common Core Standards earn more points in the Race To The Top competition. Colorado is vying for up to $175 million. But some education officials are raising their hands first.

“Do we really want to accept national standards? Is that giving away some of our control and ability to run our own schools?” asks Marcia Neal, a member of the State Board of Education.

Last year, Colorado upgraded its entire curriculum. The Colorado Department of Education says the national standards are already in line with Colorado's changes. But one nationwide study didn't give Colorado's protocol a high grade, especially in math.

“Some of the standards are too broadly stated to allow teachers and other readers to interpret the concept. There's also a bunch of missing content,” says Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, an educational research institute.

But Finn says adopting new rules won't impact any classroom, unless they're put to the test. “Textbooks, teacher preparation testing… standards don’t do any good unless state is serious about implementing them,” says Finn.

It’s a tough assignment if Colorado doesn't win any money. “The federal government has this bad habit of never living up to expectations when it comes to money,” says Neal.

Only two states won funding in the first round of Race To The Top. Thirty six states are competing again. The Colorado Board of Education will vote Aug. 2 on whether to adopt the national common core standards.

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