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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

How standards differ

She used the example that current PASS standards call for students to memorize and regurgitate the Gettysburg Address, but under the new standards, a teacher could spend three days discussing the events that preceded President Abraham Lincoln's speech and the significance of his words.

Kern agreed that Oklahoma's current standards are insufficient and failing students, but said the Common Core State Standards are watered down.

Jenni White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, cited a long list of criticisms of the Common Core State Standards.

“There's really a lack of consistent evidence that indicates common core standards even lead to high achievement,” White said.

She said the standards read as though they were “formed by testing companies.”

Other criticism focused on the cost of implementation.

Barresi said her department was cutting other professional development programs that she found to be “lacking and ineffective” and using that money to help roll out the Common Core State Standards over the next four years.

She also said the state could use money from a settlement that is being reached with Pearson Inc. for errors in this year's school accountability reports.

The new standards will mean school districts must adjust their curriculum to meet the standards, possibly purchase new textbooks and train teachers. The state also will have to develop new tests.

Some representatives at the hearing Thursday said school superintendents in their districts have expressed frustration over the process of adopting the new standards while still being held accountable for older curriculum and testing procedures.

“I'm hearing a lot of frustrations about the transition and the roll out,” said Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum.