KASB Statement on Common Core to State Board Tuesday May 14

KASB Statement on Common Core to State Board Tuesday May 14

Statement before the Kansas State Board of Education on Common Core Standards
by Tom Krebs, Advocacy Specialist, Kansas Association of School Boards
May 14, 2013
Madam Chair, Members of the Board:
            With
growing concerns expressed both in Kansas and nationally about the common core
academic standards, we want to share the perspective of local school boards.  KASB’s goal of making Kansas “First in
Education,” relates to the common core in two ways.
            First,
our member school boards and district leaders want to increase students who
leave high school fully prepared for college or other postsecondary training,
and with workplace skills.
            Second,
our members believe that the No Child Left Behind process has far outlived its
usefulness and has become a hindrance to higher achievement.
            Therefore,
although KASB did not take a position on adopting the common core standards
several years ago, we strongly support provisions of the NCLB waiver granted to
Kansas last summer.  The common core, as
modified by the State Board, satisfies the wavier requirement for a set of
college and career-ready standards as well as state law regarding state curriculum
standards.
            As
school districts have begun implementing the common core, we have heard no
objections from any of our members about quality and academic rigor of these
standards; or about intrusion into local control.  We believe the standards will help promote a
transition from “basic” proficiency to attainment of higher skills and
knowledge required for the workplace and postsecondary education.
            Dropping
the common core would require starting over on the waiver, putting Kansas
schools back under the old requirements of No Child Left Behind.  It would require additional money and time to
develop new college and career-ready standards. 
Because new assessments cannot be implemented until new standards are approved;
it would delay moving toward more rigorous student assessments.  Many districts have already spent
considerable time and money for professional development of teachers and other
staff on the common core standards.  Any
new set of standards will have implementation costs.  We have no evidence that the common core
standards will be more expensive than any other standards adopted pursuant to
state law.
            Standards
are simply expectations of what students should know and demonstrate.  Common standards will allow Kansans to more
clearly evaluate how our students compare to competing states and
counties.  Currently, we use the National
Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which is given to just a sample of
each state’s students, or the ACT or SAT, which are not used consistently in
all 50 states.  None of these tests
currently provide a clear set of standards to guide teaching.
            However,
nothing in federal law, the waiver,
or state law requires local districts to adopt any particular standards or
curriculum; or directs what they may or may not teach.  State standards may guide local teaching, but
they are primarily important because state assessments are based on them.  If there is an actual future attempt to
require or prohibit specific curricula at the local level, KASB would oppose
it.
            This
does not mean concerns about the common core should be ignored.  We believe the State Board, legislative committees
and local school boards can and should carefully monitor the
implementation of common core standards and the other changes in the school
accountability system, and make corrections if problems arise.
            In
June, KASB will conduct a 24 city tour of the state to discuss education policy
issues with local school leaders and elected state officials.  We hope you will join that discussion, and
look forward to working with you on the next steps in making Kansas first in
the nation in educational achievement.