To the Editor:
Before the state Legislature repeals the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they should 1) read them, and 2) identify the ones they believe Oklahoma students do not need to know. If they did this, however, they would be hard pressed to eliminate a single standard because the CCSS are appropriately aligned with introductory college English and math courses. But the plan is to replace the CCSS with “Oklahoma” standards that will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop and that by all accounts will look just like the CCSS.
Why will the new standards look like the CCSS? First, the CCSS are that good. Any attempt at rethinking them will just bring the standard writers back to what is already in them. Second, the timeframe for creating new standards will be ridiculously short, probably a matter of months, which increases the likelihood that the CCSS will be the foundation of the new standards. Third, guess who will be put in charge of writing the new standards? Public school teachers, college professors and State Department of Education representatives, who very much like the CCSS. The process will amount to an extraordinarily expensive renaming project.
Those sponsoring the repeal argue that the CCSS represent a federal takeover of local schools. But this is false. The CCSS were developed by educators from multiple states at the request of state governors and state superintendents to reduce remediation rates and to increase comparability of student performance across state lines. With a remediation rate of more than 40 percent at state colleges and universities, we owe it to our college-bound students to let these standards succeed or fail based on their own merits, not on some irrational fear that they represent a federal takeover of the public school system. Oklahoma should honor its commitment to the CCSS.