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Maryland community discusses merits of the Common Core
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014 16:40 PM

Schools across the country are slowly but steadily implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In Maryland, advocates of the Standards continue to rally support in multiple districts throughout the state. Proponents of the CCSS constantly give nationwide exposure to the Standards, and detailed descriptions of the Standards' benefits to students couldn't be any clearer. However, persistent opposition to the CCSS requires public school superintendents like Carroll County's Steve Guthrie to outline the purpose and goals of the Standards in statewide town hall meetings.

Guthrie, along with Carroll County school board president Virginia Harrison and a number of public education representatives, remains optimistic about the Common Core even though myths about the CCSS make community cooperation challenging. Guthrie, Harrison and their staff belong to a growing group of public administrators who believe in good quality education and the advancement of American children in a globalized environment. They don't mind spending a lot of their time advocating the CCSS because they know children will benefit in the end.

Discussing the Common Core
Carroll County recently held the first of three town hall meetings at Cranberry Station Elementary School. More than 25 people attended, including teachers, school administrators and concerned county residents. The event's coordinators wanted to create a public forum where parents could ask questions and talk about any issues surrounding student education this school year. Guthrie and his colleagues opened up the floor for questions after a short introduction on the number of changes to school policies, the CCSS being one of them. Residents immediately voiced their concerns to the group of administrators.

State governors and a committee of education experts developed the CCSS in 2009. The Standards focus on critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, and advanced reading comprehension and mathematic skills. The developers of the CCSS believed that raising the academic standards of U.S. public schools would create a generation of leaders who could compete in a global economy.

Addressing Carroll County's concerns
Guthrie believes in the purpose and goals of the CCSS. He allayed the residents' fears by providing facts about the CCSS that effectively dispelled any other myths about the Standards. However, he sympathizes with residents who expressed concern about the length of time schools, students and teachers have to comply with the CCSS.

"The biggest flaw in education reform is the timeline," Guthrie told the Baltimore Sun. "I do not have a problem with the Core Standards as they were set."