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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Common Core testimony in Columbus

Image credit: greenecountyteaparty.ohio.org

Gov. Kasich is still supporting Common Core, but the cleveland.com report on hearings and testimony in Columbus has a lot of useful links:

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The state legislature continues its debate about the Common Core educational standards this week, following a week that saw opponents of the Core criticize them, Gov. John Kasich weighing in on the debate and two national polls offering varying national looks at support for the Core.

Testimony started last week on a bill that would kill the multi-state education standards in Ohio. It resumed Tuesday and continues with testimony both Wednesday morning and evening, with an afternoon break.

Testimony continues Wednesday with Eric Gordon, chief executive officer of the Cleveland schools, and Alan Rosskamm of the Breakthrough charter school networkscheduled to testify in support of the Common Core.

Linda Gojak, a mathematics professor at John Carroll University who is the immediate past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, testified for the new standards on Tuesday. See her written testimony HERE.

Also testifying Tuesday on behalf of the standards was Char Shryock, director of curriculum for the Bay Village schools. See her written testimony HERE.

Last week's Common Core opponents from Northeast Ohio included state school board member Sarah Fowler, who represents Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage and Trumbull counties, along with portions of Lake and Summit counties. See her written testimony HERE.

Kasich last week said Ohio needs stronger standards than the ones it has used the last several years. While not backing the Common Core by name, Kasich supported the state's new standards – standards that are mostly the Common Core.

He said that local districts need the freedom to set their own curriculum to meet those standards and that he believes they have that ability.

Kasich said he has not seen enough evidence to kill the standards – as House Bill 597 now being debated would do – but could re-evaluate his position if the hearings in the House find any new information.

Here are a few news accounts of Kasich's comments, given in response to a question when he was on the road.

Here is a recording of the short news conference where he discussed the Core, provided by Kasich's office: Kasich on Common Core July 2014.m4a

Spokesman Rob Nichols made one key clarification to Kasich's remarks: "In that second sentence – he said: 'We want local school boards to develop the curricula to "set" those standards, advised by parents who live in those districts.'  He should have said 'meet' those standards, not 'set' those standards."

Nationally, two polls dominated Common Core discussion, with their results showing increased awareness of what the Common Core is, but mixed feelings about whether schools should use the standards.

Here's what an annual poll by Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup found, according to the two groups:

"Last year, almost two-thirds of Americans had never heard of the CCSS. This year, 81 percent said they had heard about the CCSS and 47 percent said they had heard a great deal or a fair amount. And what they're hearing has led to opposition: 60 percent of those questioned said they oppose the CCSS, with the biggest factor being a belief that the standards will limit the flexibility of teachers to teach what they think is best."
Another poll by Education Next, a magazine published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, found declining support for the Common Core, but supporters still outnumbering opponents.

Although a majority of the public continues to support the standards set by CCSSI, and supporters outnumber opponents by a two-to-one margin, trend lines show serious erosion in support. In 2013, no less than 65% of the general public favored the standards, but that portion is now just 53% (see Figure 1). Meanwhile, the opposition has doubled from 13% to 26%. (The share taking no position on the issue has remained essentially unchanged, at 21% in 2014.)

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For more background, go here for some good resources. Michelle Malkin reported on the maneuvering next door in Indiana earlier this year. Indiana parents are winning, and Ohioans Against Common Core can too.  

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