The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 29, 2013

Opposition to Common Core builds in Southwest Missouri

East Newton may be first district to adopt resolution challenging new standards

GRANBY, Mo. — The push-back against Common Core State Standards continues to gain traction in Southwest Missouri.

The East Newton Board of Education recently approved a resolution challenging the state’s plan to begin using the new standards in the 2014-15 school year, and called on state education leaders and lawmakers to re-evaluate them.

While school boards in other states have adopted similar resolutions, the East Newton panel appears to be the first board in Missouri to do so.

Common Core also dominated a public hearing on education on Wednesday night at Missouri Southern State University, with many parents and others in attendance asking legislators to slow down and review the new standards.

These actions come on the heels of meetings about Common Core held around the state this spring and summer, including Springfield, East Newton and Neosho, that drew large crowds. They also follow the unsuccessful attempt this spring of a state legislator from St. Charles to prohibit the State Board of Education from implementing Common Core.

Initially adopted by 45 states, including Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma in 2010, Common Core is a set of learning standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. The goal is to have graduating students ready for college or a career.

Implementation of the standards has garnered support in Missouri from more than 200 school districts, including Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction, McDonald County, Jasper, Lamar, Neosho and, initially, East Newton; and from 35 colleges and universities, including Crowder College and the School of Education at Missouri Southern State University.

Jill Carter, of Granby, and other East Newton parents invited a number of experts to speak to them at meeting in June. A number of area legislators attended, as did Mary Byrne, a representative of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core.

Carter said she first heard about Common Core when her daughter came home from school last year, and she followed that up with questions for district officials during a meeting for parents to discuss a levy increase. Initially, her questions were about the cost to the district of implementing the new standards, but as she learned more, she began to have other questions.

“Honestly, I set out to have my concerns alleviated,” she said. “You don’t buy a house without looking at it.”

Something similar has been happening in other school districts, both statewide and around the country.

And while 45 states have agreed to adopt Common Core standards, at least 13 of those states — Missouri included — have seen legislative efforts to stop their implementation.

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