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Panel Tackles Questions About The Common Core

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Ohio has joined most other states in adopting new standards for math and English in schools for the 2014-2015 school year. The Common Core has support from many educators and administrators, but there’s still some apprehension about what the new expectations will really mean for teachers and students. StateImpact’s Amy Hansen reports.

Friday, October 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

One of the biggest criticisms of Ohio’s education standards has been that they didn’t do a good enough job in preparing kids for college or a career.

The Common Core, a new set of expectations about what K through 12 students should know in math and English, is supposed to help change that.

But questions still surround the Common Core, like whether teachers are getting enough relevant training, and are the standards even the right fit for Ohio.

Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, says she’s seen through polling andanecdotally that there’s a great deal of support for the standards themselves. But she admits there are still some problems with the implementation.

“There’s this adjustment period going on where teachers are adjusting to the new standards, shifting their instructional strategies that they use, getting used to using the technology," Cropper says. "But the standards themselves the teachers actually like because they believe they're going to allow them go more in-depth on a topic, more project based learning."

Cropper was one of five panelists at a forum on the Common Core held recently by ideastream's education department and StateImpact Ohio.

Another panelist, Kirtland Local Schools’ superintendent Steve Barrett, compares navigating the Common Core to building a plane while it’s flying through the air.

While he believes the standards are a good idea overall, he thinks teachers need more training.

“In this country we spend far fewer dollars on actually training teachers than in most countries around the world," Barrett says. "We're doing a lot in Kirtland, but it never feels like enough.”

Also on the panel was State Rep. Andy Thompson, a Republican from Marietta who has introduced a bill to repeal the Common Core standards. So far, his bill has gained little traction.

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