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Oklahoma governor signs order, supports Common Core Standards

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2013 12:26 PM

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order earlier this week that will effectively limit the federal government's role in the implementation and integration of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the state's schools. Fallin signed the order as a show of support for higher education standards in Oklahoma and plans to continue to implement CCSS. But, the executive order is also a message to the people on Capitol Hill that Oklahoma will use the Standards in schools without the federal government infringing on any of the state's rights.

"We certainly don't want Washington telling us how to teach our students," Fallin said in a press conference. "And, unfortunately, Washington does not always get that message."

The Standards, which have been adopted in 45 states and Washington, D.C., is part of an ongoing country-wide education reform program designed to develop higher learning skills in American students. The program means to increase high school graduation rates and college enrollment, and develop individuals who can compete in the international workforce. Although they've met with some opposition, the Standards - formulated in 2009 by the National Governors Association, which Fallin currently chairs - are gradually being introduced into many of the country's elementary, middle and high schools.

Oklahoma prevents federal involvement in Standards
Fallin's constituents and fellow lawmakers have voiced concerns over the looming shadow cast by the federal government on the issue of states' education standards. With the signing of the executive order, Fallin ensures that educators in the state of Oklahoma will maintain control over students' education. The state will determine how tests are designed, what curricula will be used and the number and order of assessments given throughout the school year.

"We want to make it clear this is Oklahoma standards. We are going to control our own curricula. We are going to control our own rigor in the classroom, our own standards," Fallin said in a press conference.

The executive order explicitly states that every state agency will aggressively oppose any attempt made by the federal government to impose federal standards of education that do not mirror Oklahoma's own values. Along with the hard line against federal involvement in Oklahoma students' education, the order states that Oklahoma standards will not in any way threaten the privacy or security of information of any student and citizen in the state. Neither the state's governing body of education nor local school districts will attempt to collect or report information that would violate separate privacy laws.