**This message was shared on Facebook by a gentleman teacher who, at one time, served on the PARCC Educator Item Review Committee. …
To: Oklahoma Legislators
It is the eleventh hour. Decisions are being made on behalf of Oklahoma students and I MUST speak up. I am a public school educator with 31 years experience in Oklahoma (14 years), Kansas, and in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Germany. I am a mother and a grandmother.
Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, stated, “H.B. 3399 will enable us to actually exceed Common Core, while making sure that those standards are developed and implemented by Oklahomans. I think Monday’s vote shows this was very important to the members of the Senate Education Committee as well.”
I think this statement indicates that Senator Brecheen, as well as other lawmakers, are not aware of the extensive work that Oklahoma educators have ALREADY done with Common Core. They have been working on test items with PARCC (until we pulled out of that consortium) and with Measured Progress, the state’s NEW testing vendor for Common Core standards. Oklahoma educators have developed and participated in extensive Professional Development to prepare teachers for Common Core as well as to develop and select materials aligned with Common Core.
Passage of this bill not only sends a message to teachers that their work was a misguided waste of time and unimportant, it also gives educators excuses like “This, too, shall pass.”
Turning our back on this quality set of standards impacts teaching and learning for the next five years or longer.
1) New standards will have to be developed by content experts (teachers!) who are already worn-out from the work of the past several years. Teachers who truly know their content and know instruction will be reluctant to pour blood, sweat and tears into yet another set of standards that our legislature can whimsically throw away at the slightest hint of displeasure from voters. Loser: Oklahoma students.
2) New standards require additional professional development for teachers once they are developed. This will require additional funding and time away from students. Loser: Oklahoma students.
3) New curriculum materials will have to be selected. Oklahoma will be hard-pressed to find textbooks that align with their standards if they differ greatly from Common Core Standards. This happened with Oklahoma’s Social Studies Standards in the past couple of years. Oklahoma is a small state by student population and textbook companies do not find it profitable to develop quality materials that align to a small state’s unique set of standards. Loser: Oklahoma students.
4) New state assessments must be developed. Been there, done that. Teachers and curriculum administrators have worked LONG and HARD on item development and item review committees the past couple of years. Our students are scheduled to field test new items for Common Core in a few weeks and school is being disrupted for something that will now be useless. Loser: Oklahoma students.
5) All of this development costs money. So, are we going to continue to flush money down the drain to do what has already been done through the good work of our dedicated educators over the last three years? Loser: Oklahoma students.
The standards are good.
They are rigorous.
We already have them.
We have already developed assessments.
Oklahoma educators HAVE been involved in the process.
They are better than anything we could develop on our own, independently, and in a matter of one to two years.
Has the implementation had some bumps (like any worthy reform)? Yes.
Have Common Core Standards become embroiled with the public’s (and yes, some teacher’s) disdain for testing? Yes.
Has an unfounded fear of federal intrusion become an obstacle for the Common Core Standards? Yes.
As a state, can we rise above the misinformation and fear to do what is right for our students and proceed with implementing these standards? I hope so. I urge you to vote AGAINST HB 3399 or any bill that will repeal Common Core State Standards.
Shirley Simmons, PhD
Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services
Norman Public Schools — feeling frustrated with Toni Slagleand 3 others.