The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 19, 2014

Neosho board to huddle more on Common Core discussion

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho Board of Education will take another look at Common Core State Standards at its informal work session at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the district administration building.

Superintendent Dan Decker said by phone last week that the board is considering developing a resolution directed at area state legislators, asking them to be diligent about allowing districts to maintain local control as school districts implement the standards.

Common Core is a set of academic standards in English and math that define what students should know about those subjects at the end of each grade level. They are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared for higher education, additional training or a career.

Decker said a concern among some parents is that personally identifiable information about students who take the state tests would be revealed. He said the state is prohibited from revealing such information, but he’s not certain how much information the federal government would reveal.

“The perception is that it’s going to become more invasive and be providing more data about individual students,” Decker said. “I haven’t seen that, but it’s a definite area of concern for some people.”

The standards were discussed at the board’s work session last week. One issue that was addressed is the appropriateness of some education concepts in early grades.

Glenda Condict, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said at the meeting that a concept may be introduced at one grade level, but the child may not be required to know the information until later.

Board President Brett Day said the board must rely on the teachers to determine what concepts are developmentally appropriate.

Condict said the standards are rigorous and reading-intensive.

“We have been working on this for three years,” she said. “We realize it’s going to be challenging for teachers and students and for parents.”

Decker said at the meeting that because of the more rigorous standards, student test performance may decline initially.

“We’re going to nose-dive because of the rigors of the test,” he said.

Decker said at the meeting that opting out of Common Core isn’t a viable option for the district, because state tests will be based on the standards, and the district’s accreditation is based on the state tests. He also said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education isn’t likely to reverse course.

Decker said that as long at teachers, administrators and board members maintain local control of curriculum, the new standards will work.

“I think it’s going to be manageable,” he said. “As long as we continue to be diligent, we’re going to be good.”

Test costs

ANOTHER ISSUE discussed last week by the Neosho Board of Education was the cost of the state tests. Administrators said the state has issued several different numbers. “Honestly, I cannot tell you the cost,” said Glenda Condict, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

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