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Oklahoma lawmaker Kern warns against national education standards

At a House interim study Thursday, state Rep. Sally Kern urged her fellow lawmakers to roll back the adoption of education standards that were created by a national group.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: October 7, 2011

State Rep. Sally Kern urged her fellow House members Thursday not to use national education standards that already are being implemented in many school districts across the state.

Kern said the standards — which specify what a student should know in each grade — are a federal intrusion on state government and should be abandoned.

“The Common Core State Standards are federalization of education and this violates local control,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. “One size does not necessarily fit all.”

In the last legislative session, Oklahoma lawmakers mandated that the state adopt national standards drafted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The standards were adopted as part of Oklahoma's application for federal funds through the Race to the Top competition. Oklahoma didn't win those funds but still adopted the new standards.

Kern said that without the potential of those federal funds, Oklahoma wouldn't have adopted the Common Core State Standards.

State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said that is absolutely not the case.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts,” Barresi said. “The common core does two things. It addresses content, and it addresses the development of cognitive skills.”

She said those skills — critical thinking and analysis — are sorely missing from Oklahoma's current standards, known as Priority Academic Student Skills, or PASS.

Barresi said Oklahoma's current standards are “a mile wide and an inch deep.” The new standards will allow teachers to add depth to student's knowledge while still covering the key content areas.

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