The Edmond Sun


July 12, 2014

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: 5 key ingredients necessary for state’s education standards

EDMOND — In the coming weeks and months state leaders, educators and parents will be discussing (and hopefully developing) new state education standards. This discussion has immense implications on the quality of education in Oklahoma, and the future prosperity of its residents.

On June 5, Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 3399 to repeal the Common Core educational standards that the state had adopted along with more than 40 other states back in 2009. Despite garnering bipartisan support just a few short years ago, recently Common Core had become a lighting rod issue among the conservative base. Given our state’s political climate, Common Core’s repeal in Oklahoma is not a surprise, but it will be interesting to see what standards, if any, are now suitable to our state’s leaders.

As our leaders develop these new standards or expectations for student learning, let’s hope they adhere to these general principles:

1. Education standards should be developed by educators, and not politicians. If we want to do what’s best for our students, we need to rely upon the expertise of those who best understand educational theory and practice. Frankly, our legislators do not have that level of expertise to be dictating what students should be learning in math, reading, science and social studies.

2. Educators need to seek input from businesses when developing the new standards. If we are to have standards that best prepare students for future success in their careers, we need the input from those businesses about what skills they need their future workforce to have.

3. The Oklahoma standards need to be at least as rigorous as the standards in other states and other nations. If we fail to set high standards for our students, they will not achieve high outcomes. If we want our students to be competitive in the future workforce, our education standards need to be competitive today.

4. The Oklahoma standards also need to be similar to standards in other states. It’s important for businesses that operate in multiple states, that there be consistency across states in educational outcomes. If a corporation for example, wants to send employees to work in Oklahoma, they will want to be confident that the employees’ children will not be too far ahead, or too far behind, where they were in other states. In today’s economy where worker mobility has greater prevalence, educational consistency takes greater importance.

5. The standards should set goals, or expectations for student learning at each grade level, but should not dictate how teachers should teach. After all, it is the teacher in the classroom who best knows their students and who best knows how to help their students achieve the expected outcomes.

It is important to note that the Common Core standards, which have been much derided in Oklahoma, actually meet all five of these criteria. These standards were developed by education professionals with the support of state-supported organizations like the National Governors Association. Furthermore, the Common Core standards were developed with input from industry, and are still supported by business groups. Finally, the Common Core standards did not dictate how teachers should teach, or what curricula should be used, but did set clear, and rigorous expectations for student learning at each grade.

So, in the end, if our leaders are truly interested in developing the best educational standards for our students they likely will end up developing a set of standards that are not much different than the Common Core standards we’ve just denounced.

To read the Common Core standards, visit

MICKEY HEPNER is the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma. Hepner serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for The Oklahoma Academy.

Text Only
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results