Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM
StateImpact is answering reader-submitted questions about the Common Core, a new set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level. Ohio is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core.
The audience member asked:
What are potential alternatives to the Common Core?
Ohio's standards options include:
But Ohio could lose some federal funding or face other federal consequences if it decides to go back on its decision to adopt the Common Core.
The Ohio Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core in June 2010. A bill that would void the board's vote is currently pending in the Ohio House.
Canceling Ohio's adoption of the Common Core could have federal repercussions.
First, there's the No Child Left Behind Act:
And then there's the federal Race to the Top grant program:
With those federal conditions in mind, the main alternatives to the Common Core include:
Both opponents and supporters of the Common Core say Ohio's old standards don't prepare students for jobs or college.
The Fordham Institute, which generally supports the Common Core, graded both the Common Core and individual state's standards on "clarity and specificity" and "content and rigor."
Here's how the standards compare:
|Ohio's Old Standards||Common Core Standards|
|English Language Arts||C||B+|
Ohio has an existing set of standardized tests aligned with those old standards.
This is the option that Rep. Thompson prefers. He told the House Education Committee earlier this month that Ohio "must do our own research to arrive at standards that time and testing have shown to be successful."[related_content align="right"]
Thompson's bill would require the state to hold a series of public hearings in each of Ohio's 16 congressional districts and get comments on any new standards from parents, teachers, academics, politicians, educational organizations, religious groups and policy think tanks.
At the WVIZ/PBS panel discussion, Kirtland school district Superintendent Steve Barrett estimated it would take several years to write new Ohio standards and even more time to create new standardized tests to go with them.
(The Common Core took about 2 years to write. The Indiana Office of Budget and Management estimates it would take about $19 million and two years for Indiana to develop a set of new, non-Common Core standardized tests.)
Barrett says several years is too long to wait.
"I have a third grader and she can't wait until 6th or 7th or 8th grade for new standards," Barrett said.
It's unclear what standards Ohio's schools would teach to while these new standards are being developed or what would happen to the resources schools have already invested in teaching to the Common Core.
Instead of starting from scratch in writing new standards, Ohio could "model" new standards on another state's existing standards.
Massachusetts' old standards -- which the state replaced with the Common Core -- are often cited as a potential model for other states.
The standards movement calls for setting standards for what students should know and be able to do and using standardized tests to monitor whether students are meeting those standards. It's basically why we have these Common Core State Standards.
Not everyone is a fan of the standards movement.
But there is little discussion in Columbus about taking Ohio off the standards track now -- and doing so could cause Ohio serious problems with the U.S. Department of Education.
Please tell us if you're a parent, teacher, principal, policymaker or concerned citizen who cares about how the Common Core will change education in our state. We’ll find answers and share them here at StateImpact Ohio.