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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Educators discuss Common Core standards

  • While there has been criticism of what are known as the Common Core Standards, local education officials say it's beneficial to have the same standards used across the United States.
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  • While there has been criticism of what are known as the Common Core Standards, local education officials say it's beneficial to have the same standards used across the United States.
    "It makes sense that we're all on the same sheet of music," Leavenworth Superintendent Kelly Crane said.
    She said it becomes difficult for educators as many students arrive having previously been taught under different standards.
    Easton Superintendent Chuck Coblentz said having uniform standards can benefit children of military personnel as they move around the country. He said there will be less transition if the children move to a state that also uses Common Core Standards.
    "They have the same standards Kansas does," he said.
    Lansing Superintendent Randy Bagby said he sees the standards as a positive thing for education.
    According to a website for the Common Core State Standard Initiative, 45 states including Kansas have adopted the standards as well as the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. The Department of Defense Education Activity also has adopted the standards.
    The website describes the standards initiative as a "state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt."
    The standards were adopted in Kansas in 2010 with full implementation scheduled for the upcoming school year.
    Crane said the Common Core standards are more rigorous than the state standards they replaced in Kansas.
    "You will see similarities, but you also will see the rigor that is in place," she said.
    Coblentz said the Common Core standards gives teachers and school boards more flexibility regarding what is taught and how it's taught.
    Bagby said standards are not the same as curriculum. He said it's still the job of local school officials to provide the curriculum to reach the standards.
    Bagby said there's no political affiliation tied to the Common Core initiative. He said it's not a Republican or Democratic endeavor.
    "It's an education endeavor," she said.
    He said nothing is ever perfect and there likely will be some tweaking to the standards.
    Crane acknowledged the Common Core standards are something teachers have to learn and implement. But she said it's not unlike when any new standards are adopted.
    She said teachers have to adapt to new standards.
    "That's what we're tested on," she said.
    The state of Kansas revises its content standards every seven years, according to information from the Kansas State Department of Education.
    One issue that has been raised regarding the implementation of the Common Core Standards is the cost. During a meeting Monday, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education were presented a list of approximate expenses associated with Common Core Standards in the district since 2010.
    Page 2 of 2 - The expenditures were for things such as professional development and adoption of math textbooks. The expenditures total to $323,600.
    But Leavenworth Assistant Superintendent Bret Church said the law required the state to update standards in 2010. And any new standards would have resulted in expenditures for the district.
    Bagby said he doesn't see the implementation of the standards costing the Lansing district any more or less money.
    Coblentz said the Easton district spent about $70,000 for new math textbooks, but the district was due for new textbooks. He said the district spent about $4,000 on staff development last year that was targeted at the implementation of the new language arts and math standards.
    Another issue that has arisen in regards to Common Core Standards concerns the collection of student data.
    The standards do not contain requirements regarding data collection, according to information from the KSDE.
    Bagby said the state already has been collecting student level data for some time.
    He said there have been questions and confusion about other education programs in the past such as the state's Quality Performance Accreditation system and the federal No Child Left Behind law.
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