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Kansas communities come together to support the Common Core

TUESDAY, JANUARY 07, 2014 14:37 PM

State administrators have begun a grassroots movement to spread the word about the merits of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) throughout the states that have adopted them. School representatives at Mayberry in Wichita, Kan., for example, received visits from representatives of the state's Department of Education and sat down with community members to discuss any questions concerning the Common Core.

Implementing CCSS in Kansas schools
While the CCSS movement gains strength, the battle against misinformation continues in multiple communities across the U.S. State leaders and advocates of the Standards saw positive results after conducting town hall meetings, school district workshops and more intimate classroom discussions with parents and teachers. After holding a school meeting at Mayberry, Kansas State Commissioner of Education Diane DeBacker said she believes all communities really need to understand how the CCSS work.

"What I wanted to do tonight is to make sure the educators understood how the standards were developed, understood what they really are, so they can carry those messages to their (students') parents," DeBacker told Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE

The state governors and education specialists who developed the CCSS aimed to provide a set of challenging academic standards that would raise American students' level of knowledge and skill. The Standards focus on building strong reading comprehension processes, complex mathematical skills, critical thinking abilities and an overall deeper understanding of course material. The developers of the CCSS hoped to prepare students for college and work life after high school graduation. Kansas' Board of Education adopted the CCSS in 2010, and after a thorough review of the quality of the Standards, decided to move forward with implementation.

Addressing concerns and myths surrounding the Common Core
Many representatives who lead these state-facilitated meetings across Kansas often debate with opponents of the Common Core. According to opponents, implementing the Standards creates a nationalized education system without the consent of the state. Opponents argue that federal funds became available to states eager to adopt standards included in or related to the CCSS. Leaders of the opposition also believe people affiliated with two Washington, D.C.-based trade organizations established the Standards, not the state's Board of Education. DeBacker said myths like these create challenging obstacles for CCSS advocates.

"I think the biggest myth is that these are federal standards and they are absolutely not," DeBacker told the source.