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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Common Core myths dispelled

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  • The Kansas PTA Advocacy Leadership is clarifying a persistent myth associated with Common Core State Standards.
    One of the most prevalent myths is Common Core State Standards are taking over K-12 education and cannot be changed.
    Any school board can choose to use or not use the Common Core State Standards. Local school boards still maintain control of the curriculum, said Skyline Superintendent Mike Sanders who presented the information at the USD 438 Board of Education meeting Monday.
    Another myth is if Common Core Standards are adopted, it will come with invasive student data collection. The fact is the Kansas Department of Education doesn't use invasive data collection and CCSS has no impact on state data collection.
    The CCSS is not a federally mandated program, it is state based and local boards can change it if they want, Sanders said.
    Kansas school districts are embracing CCSS because it is more rigorous than No Child Left Behind. No Child did not promote problem solving or develop creativity. The business world was complaining students graduating from NCLB had a hard time thinking on their feet and thinking outside the box, Sanders said.
    It called for students to do a lot of memory work and lowered the bar academically so no student would be left behind. But it ended up lowering education expectations and student productivity, Sanders said.
    Students were struggling to meet academic requirements and were not performing well in the real business world.
    Business groups and the National Governor's Conference got together to formulate an education curriculum. Then the states tweaked it to its current form.
    Skyline has already adopted CCSS and Skyline teachers have been working for three years to get the students prepared for the more demanding style of education that will require students to think on their feet, Sanders said.
    "That's what we want to do. We want to do what's best for the kids," Sanders said.
    This will raise expectations for students and research shows if expectations are raised, students will work hard to meet those expectations.
    Sanders said the new program is going to prove to be a big challenge for special needs students but it is something that will have to be met.
    Keeping track of government programs is the goal of Game On for Kansas Schools. This group will be in Pratt on Thursday, Feb. 27 meeting at 5:15 p.m. with board members and people across the community then at 6:30 p.m. meeting with school patrons and parents. Both meetings will be held at Liberty Middle School. They will also speak at Rotary that day.
    This group is dedicated to building people's awareness with state politicians. One issue is school funding. Some politicians say education is properly funded but schools say funding is being cut.
    Page 2 of 2 - This group works to be non-biased and they have found what the schools are saying is right. They are very pro-school and very supportive of education. They see funding cuts and growing class size so they are going across Kansas to help build awareness.
    The public is encouraged to come and meet with this group.
    Another item on the BOE agenda was informing the board of an effort to make concrete companies tax exempt. If this happens, it will further reduce state revenues and that will carry down to education.
    This is another prime example of the Legislature passing the tax buck down to the local level, Sanders said.
    In other board action:
    The board accepted the resignations of custodian Kevin Mazzanti and middle school cheer sponsor Heather Winklepleck.
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