The head of Ohio’s largest teacher’s union is in Denver attending the National Education Association’s annual delegates meeting, and issues around the Common Core will be high on the agenda.
Three states, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Indiana, have eliminated the standards, and in a fourth – Louisiana - the governor and state board of education are at odds over whether to keep them.
Ohio’s legislature this spring reaffirmed its commitment to the Common Core.
Becky Higgins, Presidnet of the Ohio Education Association, says her organization firmly backs the standards, but joins many others who say schools need more time to implement them before teachers are evaluated based on test results. A just passed bill allows for a year’s delay in sanctioning teachers for lower test scores, but individual districts can decide not to wait.
Higgins says she’s cautiously optimistic that most will.
“I would be afraid if I didn’t believe in my heart that were are going to do this right, and we are going to work together and we are going to collaborate – administrative, teachers, educators, the statehouse – in order to get this done,” Higgins says.
The Common Core emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving over rote learning and memorization. Some opponents consider it a federal intrusion into local education decisions; others find the new standards unfamiliar and confusing.