THIS isn’t the first year that the battle over what is and isn’t taught in classrooms across Oklahoma has landed squarely in the lap of lawmakers. Nor will it be the last. Still, the fuss over Common Core State Standards has made for particularly odd bedfellows and mountains of misinformation.
The latter is due in part to politics and is hardly unique to this issue. But there’s also a general angst these days over all things touted as education reform. Separate issues are lumped together — and promptly painted with the proverbial broad brush.
Despite the confusion and anxiety, the path for the Legislature is clear: Oklahoma students won’t be well served if lawmakers opt to dump the standards.
It’s clear that when the state adopted the Common Core standards for English language arts and math, in 2010, the change wasn’t high on the radar of many parents. Perhaps it wasn’t even on the radar of many teachers. Since then, some districts have dipped their toe in the water of changing academic standards while others jumped from the high dive.
As districts make the shift, many parents have seen the difference in what and even how students are learning. They no doubt like some of the changes while dreading others. We’re pretty sure that’s true on any given set of academic standards. Common Core is no different.
Many teachers like the standards on the whole. We know because they’ve said so. Does that mean they like — or even need to like — every single standard? Of course not! Parents won’t either.
The over-the-top arguments against Common Core are familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention. We’ll forgo the recitation. Here’s the bottom line: If the vast majority of Oklahoma students were leaving high school well prepared for post-secondary education and/or the workforce, this discussion would be over before it got started. But that’s not the case. Too many lack a level of educational preparation that would help them create a solid future for themselves and their families. They need and deserve better.