STILLWATER, Okla. —
Rep. Cory Williams
House 34th District
Letter to the editor:
I wholeheartedly agree with concerns expressed in the March 26 editorial “Our View: Why Repeal Common Core?” about the 11th hour change in Oklahoma’s education policy.
Stillwater Public Schools have been investing in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for three years. When the State Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, the Stillwater school district rolled up its sleeves, committed its scarce resources and accepted the challenge of implementing higher, more rigorous standards. It has not been an easy or smooth transition, but it is worth staying the course.
A majority of Oklahoma educators have embraced the standards because they see the value for their students. These standards do not dictate teaching methods, specify reading material, or address grade promotion or retention – they simply define what students should know in English language arts and math at a minimum at each grade level.
Regardless, several state legislators have suggested we stop Common Core and create our own Oklahoma standards to be implemented in August 2014. Given our recent experiences, it is unclear to me how this timetable would be attainable and how we would even know what to keep and what to avoid from Common Core, considering we haven’t even given those standards a real try.
Our community – like so many others across the state – has devoted immense amounts of time and financial resources to train teachers, update curriculums and prepare relevant assessments. I believe we should fulfill our commitment to Common Core this year, then – if deemed necessary after proper evaluation – make adjustments in a controlled, rational, deliberate manner. Any other action would be counterproductive. Our educators and school districts, and more importantly our students, deserve better.