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Common testing

Published on -7/10/2013, 9:39 AM

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The anti-Common Core forces show no signs of abandoning their quest. For them, having education standards for K-12 public schools adopted by most states in the nation smacked of federal overreach.

Unable to persuade enough state lawmakers either to drop the standards Kansas adopted in 2010 or to prohibit funding for any further implementation, opponents are now focusing on the tests that need to be developed. Kansans Against Common Core do not want the state joining in with others to create the annual examinations. Rather, KACC would prefer the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas be utilized.

"Keeping our assessments local will allow local school boards to put that money back into the classroom," said Megan King, the leader of Kansans Against Common Core.

Sounds good for Lawrence, which is where KU is located and where King lives. But we fail to see the "local" connection applying to the rest of the state.

We also fail to see why even a Kansas-developed test would be less expensive for school districts than one utilized by multiple states. Efficiencies and scale come about with larger groups, not smaller subsets.

Additionally, the tests will be developed to ensure that Common Core concepts are being taught and learned. If each state develops its own examination standards, it would appear likely we still could end up with a hodgepodge similar to that which exists currently.

The whole point of Common Core was to better prepare students for college and the workplace, and to elevate the comprehension level of U.S. students. Part of the problem was having a high school diploma mean one thing in Kansas and something entirely different in Alabama. Today's mobile society demanded a different approach to setting standards, as did the country's generally poor performance compared to other nations.

Educators have spent years developing standards that not only emphasize deeper critical thinking but allows autonomy in the classroom.

Subject matter in English language arts and mathematics will be taught in different ways, but the necessary concepts to be mastered will be introduced at similar grade levels. Allowing each state or district to develop their own tests doesn't strike us as a good way to ensure the subjects have been introduced properly. Particularly when both the SAT and ACT tests are being revised to reflect the new standards.

The Kansas State Board of Education should reject the pleas of Kansans Against Common Core. It's merely another attempt to derail a worthwhile process.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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