BOE asks state to reconsider Common Core repeal

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BOE asks state to reconsider Common Core repeal
By LACIE PIERSON, Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON - The Cabell County Board of Education approved a measure to "stay the course" regarding Common Core standards after the West Virginia House of Delegates voted last weekend to repeal the standards.

The board approved the measure in a 5-0 vote during its regular meeting Tuesday evening at the Cabell County Schools central office.

Superintendent Bill Smith now will mail a letter to the legislative delegation representing Cabell County, informing them of the action.

In the letter, the district collectively asks for legislators to keep Common Core standards in place until a new set of standards can be developed in a fiscally responsible fashion, as to avoid burdening the financial and human resources on the county level.

Prior to the vote, Smith clarified his reasoning in sending the letter, and he referred to the Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia's Primary and Secondary Education, that was requested by the governor in 2010.

"Basically, what is said was we have overregulation at the state level," Smith said. "When you look at that very closely, we have a lot of confusion about who's in charge. We have a governor who wants to speak to education. We have a legislature that wants to speak to education. We have a state Board of Education. We have a state Department of Education, and everybody's singing a different song. It's driving us all crazy at the county level. They need to clarify what we're doing in education. Who is in charge of that? That question has to be answered."

Three people spoke on the matter during the meeting. Two of the speakers expressed their displeasure with the Common Core standards and a third was supportive.
The letter that will be sent to local representatives asks for the legislators to "consider a more organized, methodical approach to this debate and decision making."
It asks legislators to specify the exact portions of Common Core standards that are objectionable.

It also asks if a new set of standards would "be so remarkably different as to warrant such a drain on both fiscal and human resources?"

Also in the letter is a question referring back to Smith's point, which asks legislators to consider which governmental entity is best suited to govern schools and subsequently craft legislation that is "intentional about that approach."

George Watson, an education professor at Marshall University and parent of two students in Cabell County Schools, said the use of the standards was a form research for an unproven method that uses West Virginia students as unwilling experimental subjects.

"The Common Core is not simply a rewording or an organization of standards like we've done the past," Watson said. "It's the process of teaching and learning, especially in mathematics, that's being put on its ear. This new treatment has no basis in research."

Helen Gibbons, president of the Huntington Chapter of the League of Women voters spoke in favor of Common Core standards.

Gibbons said her three now-adult children went through the Cabell County Schools system, and she said it would take too many resources, both financially and in personnel efforts, to repeal the standards and implement new ones.

"I believe there's been so much misapprehension about what's happened, and it's been very hard to explain," Gibbons said. "I think we need to face the fact that the children in the United States have lagged behind children in other countries in educational achievements ... The Common Core standards were developed by the leaders and governors from all over the country, not by the federal government. They had the input of teachers and others in the educational community. The standards are researched and evidence-based."

Phil Parlock, a Huntington resident and parent of students in Cabell County Schools, said the standards were too centralized and the standardized testing was too subjective.

"When you have somebody on high saying, 'These are the standards we want you to come to,' then there's control about how our kids are being taught, what they're being taught and where they're expected to arrive," Parlock said. "I want my children to arrive where we want them to arrive: Smart, bright, intelligent, thinking independently, not being turned into drones."