Common Core supporters speak against repeal effort in Ohio

by Marc Kovac | Capital Bureau Chief Published:

Columbus — Two superintendents, a school board member and representatives of several union groups reiterated their support Aug. 18 for Common Core standards, saying a repeal now would undo years of preparation, force schools to revamp lesson plans and unnecessarily require new training for teachers.

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials and the Ohio School Boards Association are among the groups opposing efforts by some Statehouse Republicans to repeal Common Core.

“... If we were to step away from this, for political reasons, a generation of students would miss out on a more effective, more important, more productive education,” said Kirk Hamilton, executive director of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

The press conference at the Statehouse Aug. 18 came a few hours before the first of several hearings in the Ohio House on legislation to repeal the Common Core standards for language arts and math, replacing them with what backers say will be more rigorous standards and ensuring control over all curriculum decisions remains in Ohio.

Critics say Common Core standards represent an overreach of the federal government and corporate interests into local classrooms, with resulting textbook lessons so convoluted or awkwardly phrased that students and their parents don’t understand them.

But backers say the standards are an effort to ensure every high school graduate has the foundational knowledge needed for college, technical schools or other career paths. The standards, they say, were developed through research-based reviews of educational systems around the world, and decisions about curriculum are made at the local level.

Robert Hill, superintendent of Firelands Local Schools in Lorain County, said his district has already devoted time and money to train teachers on Ohio’s Common Core learning standards.

“Any effort to halt or disrupt efforts associated with our preparation for Ohio’s new learning standards are ill conceived and a misguided attempt to undermine our core mission of educating the children and young adults of this great state,” he said, adding later, “Ohio’s new learning standards provide a framework for a common sense approach to education that is rigorous, reasonable, flexible and one that allows the needed local control to provide an excellent education.”

Eric Germann, president of the Lincolnview Local Schools board in Van Wert County, said his district has spent about $700,000 on technology, textbooks and teacher training related to the Common Core. He said school officials are working through curriculum decisions — class reading lists or how math lessons are taught, for example — at the local level.

“I think it would be ill-advised to try to change course right now in the timeline that they’ve laid out,” he said.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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