Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Woodland Park parents stand up against national education standards

By Carol McGraw Published: August 8, 2013 0

A group of Woodland Park parents and educators want to get rid of the Common Core Academic Standards that are being implemented in Colorado Schools.

Teller County Citizens Against Common Core Standards maintains the new academic guidelines aren't as good as the ones in place. It also argues that the system is unconstitutional because it takes local control away from school districts.

It may lobby Woodland Park School District RE-2 and the state to drop out.

"We want to get the word out. The standards were just a money carrot for the state to get federal money," contends Carolyn Fairchild, the Teller County group's spokeswoman and who taught school for 32 years. Money was set aside by the federal government in significant Race to the Top grants for states that came on board.

About 55 people attended the group's information meeting earlier this week.

"Most people said they were alarmed that our academics will get worse under the new standards," Fairchild said.

She believes that common core will be even more test oriented than classroom instruction is now.

"Common Core Standards will be state assessments on steroids."

The Common Core Standards are a single set of educational requirements for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and math that are expected to bridge the country's global educational gap. By aligning what students learn across the country, state officials have said that such disparities will be alleviated. In the past, states and districts developed their own standards and some were more rigorous than others.

Among other things, critics say that classic literature and certain math subjects are being left out of the core standards.

Colorado Department of Education website information says that the Common Core Standards "reflect more rigourous and clear expectations than the Colorado Academic Standards." Education experts, parents, teachers and administrators from around the U.S. worked on the standards for several years, as did educators in Colorado.

Four states have refused the alignment. Last month, Douglas County School Board in suburban Denver adopted a resolution to oppose the standards in favor of its own, which they consider superior. Randi Weingarten, head of American Federation of Teachers, in April urged a "moratorium on assessment-driven sanctions tied to Common Core State Standards until solid implementation plans are embedded in schools and proven effective through a year or more of field testing," according to the AFT website.

Woodland Park School District officials were not available for comment.

For those wanting more information, the email address for the new organization is coloradoagainstcommoncore@yahoo.com.

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Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw

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