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Common Core Questioned at Statehouse Hearing

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 1:02 PM

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Ohio’s new “Common Core” reading and math standards only went into effect this school year, but one legislator—with support from some parents—is calling for their repeal. StateImpact reporter Amy Hansen sat in on a legislative hearing on the proposal, and has this report.

More than 130 people crammed into the hearing room, including Vivian Hellwart, a mother of three from Mercer County who took the day off from work to be there.

She and many others in the crowd wore big, bold stickers with the words “Common Core” crossed out.

She says that she thinks the standards were introduced too quietly without much public input.

“If it was such a great program, why wouldn’t they have shouted it through the rooftops," Hellwart asked. "Why wouldn’t the media be covering it, saying we have these wonderful standards that we’re throwing out, kids are going to be so much better prepared.”

Rep. Andy Thompson, a Republican from Marietta, is the sponsor of House Bill 237, which would repeal the Common Core standards. He says he has received many calls from concerned parents and educators, and he believes not enough research went into developing the standards.

“Good intentions are not enough," Thompson said. "We need to look at what has worked elsewhere. You want something that’s been tested someplace else so you can decide if it has the potential to work in Ohio.”

But many support the Common Core, including Elizabeth Nelson, who teaches English at Shawnee High School in Springfield.

“I think it stretches my students in ways that they hadn’t really experienced it before," Nelson said. "And they really are emphasizing non-fiction work and that’s what most of my students read is nonfiction.”

The Common Core standards also have the support of Education Committee Chairman Jerry Stebelton, and that makes it unlikely that the bill to repeal will make it to a House vote.

He calls the standards “common sense and reasonable.”

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