The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Governor signs bill on education standards

  • A lawmaker-led effort challenging national education standards that evolved into a softer approach to revise Missouri's student achievement goals has won the last-minute backing of Gov. Jay Nixon
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  • (AP) A lawmaker-led effort challenging national education standards that evolved into a softer approach to revise Missouri's student achievement goals has won the last-minute backing of Gov. Jay Nixon.
    The Democratic governor on Monday signed legislation that tasks groups of parents and educators with writing new standards to replace Common Core. Nixon's office announced the move with a written statement in the late afternoon on the last possible day he could take action on bills passed earlier this year.
    The Republican-led Legislature has fought the standards since state education officials adopted the benchmarks in 2010. Politicians in Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have scrapped the Common Core amid similar concerns about overreaching federal programs.
    Advisory groups will develop new school standards in Missouri for English, math, science and history to be put in place by 2016. The State Board of Education will hold several public hearings on the proposed changes. For each subject, one group will determine benchmarks for elementary students while an additional panel will write the goals for older students.
    For now, the contentious federal Common Core standards remain in place. Nixon had not previously offered a public position on the legislation.
    "Over the past several years, we have made significant strides to increase rigor, transparency and accountability in our classrooms and with my signature today, this progress will continue," the governor's statement reads.
    The Republican-led Senate voted 23-6 in favor of the bill, which cleared the House with a 135-10 vote.
    The eight advisory groups will be composed of members chosen by state education associations and leaders, lawmakers, Nixon and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Four members will be parents of children currently enrolled in Missouri schools.
    RPS comfortable with Common Core
    By Paul Hackbarth
    Rolla Public Schools would like to be involved in the tasks groups that will write new standards to replace the Common Core standards in Missouri.
    Assistant Superintendent Craig Hounsom told the Daily News Tuesday that he would love for the school district to participate somehow so that school officials can at least be aware of the changes being discussed by the groups.
    According to Hounsom, the Rolla School District began making the transition to the Common Core standards two years ago — first with kindergarten and first-grade students and then moving to implementing the new standards at all grade levels this past school year.
    Hounsom said the district hasn’t received any test scores, “hard numbers” or other data back that would show what kind of effect the Common Core standards are having on students.
    “What we have found is they are challenging kids and teachers and they are raising the level of what is expected,” he said, noting that Common Core is asking more of the district.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hounsom said RPS has had to revise the way it does certain things but not to a radical extent as Common Core requires students to be taught things at an earlier grade level than in the past.
    Despite the revisions needed, “we’re OK with the objectives,” Hounsom said. He said he feels most of the controversy of Common Core stems not from the objectives, but how they are implemented at school districts.
    “We’re comfortable with Common Core, but if there are revisions made to it, I’m sure we’ll be comfortable with them,” he said.
    Hounsom said that if the learning objectives are revised, how they are taught will still be left up to each school district.
    “It’s up to us as a district how it is we're going to teach the objectives, what materials we’ll need and what professional development is needed for the teachers,” Hounsom said.
    Hounsom said the district will continue using Common Core for the next two years likely, as it won’t be until 2016, when the task groups’ revised objectives, if any, would be ready to be implemented.
    He said he assumes whatever revisions are decided, he doesn’t believe they will be that drastic of a transition from Common Core.
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