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Local News

June 7, 2014

Byng educator details issues with Common Core

Byng — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin last week signed a bill that calls for the State Board of Education to replace Common Core State Standards for English and math with a more homegrown version.

The decision was a tricky one politically for Fallin because she chairs the National Governors Association, a group that gave its seal of approval to Common Core. Being responsive to fellow governors is one thing, but Fallin also had to answer to Oklahoma voters who were increasingly disenchanted with Common Core Standards.

Bill Nelson, Byng Schools assistant superintendent, said he doesn’t know many educators who opposed Common Core. “Common Core caused educators to step back and look at what we were doing and try to get rid of some stuff that maybe didn’t matter that we latched onto over the years,” Nelson said.  

He said Common Core replaced PASS Objectives that were too broadly written. 

“Common Core narrowed the focus and gave you a little more concrete target to shoot for, and I don’t know very many teachers that were unhappy about that,” he said.

The problem, Nelson said, is that Common Core is a “one size fits all” mentality. “Anybody can go to an American public school and has a right to go. I don’t argue about that, but to expect the same outcome (is not realistic),” he said.

He said American schools used to say that by 18 years of age all students should have achieved an identical educational level, but the current norm is for that to occur for all 10-year-olds.

“Well, that’s great unless you line up a classroom of 10-year-olds,” Nelson said. “You’ve got some who are doing complex math equations at home and some who haven’t yet finished their first comic book. That’s the dilemma.

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