Growing concern over school common core state standards

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Classroom curriculums are becoming a hot button subject as more states look to integrate common core standards, a national effort to give students similar learning goals by grade across the country.

Colorado is currently in the process of transitioning to these new standards, and they'll be fully integrated in classrooms in the upcoming school year. Still, there is local concern these standards would globalize classrooms, but educators say it's an effort that will make our students more competitive after high school.

A more common classroom with more common standards. It's a growing concern among parents, both across the country and right here at home.

"States won't be individual in what they're teaching the kids," concerned parent Karen King said. "There will be a lack of transparency, we're not going to have any control over what they're learning."

Colorado is just one state which has adopted common core state standards in recent years. There are currently 44 other states across the country that have done the same.

The goal was to help students prepare for their futures by creating nationwide standards for students by grade, eliminating redundancy in the classroom and giving students a consistent education.

"When a student moves across our district from school to school, they aren't left with gaps or learning the same content twice,” School District 51 chief academic officer Bill Larsen said. "The common core was adopted back in 2010 so it has been here for quite some time,"

As of late, though, there's been a movement against the common core standards. The Colorado Department of Education says it's grown due to media attention and movements in other states, but contains a lot of misinformation.

"[The common core standards would be the] same lesson taught throughout every school, every state on the very same day," King said.

School officials say the standards still allow flexibility, and teachers are given a pacing guide to hit certain lessons. How they teach, though, is up to them.

"It is not so standardized that a teacher doesn't have individual professional responsibility on how to teach that curriculum," Larsen said.

Another concern is students are being set up to fail in tests with a more difficult curriculum.

"Our new math curriculum is completely different than what we all learned, and you know, as parents have to relearn to help our children with homework," concerned parent Shawnalee Demers said.

School District 51 says the newer curriculum is rigorous, and was written with high goals for all students by the time they graduated high school. Though standards will be the same for students everywhere, it will ultimately make them most competitive, too.

"It’s a fair thing for our students, we want our students to come through and end up with the best education that they can," Larsen said. "Why would we not want them to have a curriculum that could compete at a world level?"

The Colorado Department of Education says standards are nothing new in Colorado classrooms, in fact, we've had standards at some level for 20 years.

It says there has also been a lot of positive feedback about the core curriculum, and ultimately, the standards will set end goals for students each year.

Colorado adopted common core state standards in math, English and language arts. The effort came out of the National Governor's Association and Council of Chief State School Officers.


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