Rep. Rick Holman, Legislative Report, Week Four, January 28, 2015
HOUSE BILL 1461: An anti-Common Core (CC) Standards bill circulated by Rep. Jim Kasper of Fargo is being promoted by outside interest groups who wish to dictate to North Dakota how we should be educating our children. Current ND Standards provide a general framework for the education of our students. There is nothing inherently evil in the standards. Any required reporting through is a ND legislative mandate. This proposed legislation is an attack on education, and specifically, an attack on the ND Department of Public Instruction. This is bad for ND schools and bad for ND kids.
CREATION: The creation of the common core state standards was a grass roots effort from the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers as a response to the message from the business community and higher education leaders that students leaving high school are not adequately prepared for the next level of education or for the workforce. Using their recommendations as a guiding framework, and supported by Governor Hoeven and the Department of Public Instruction, North Dakota adopted its own standards. Every few years, educators are nominated to a review committee. For the most recent Math and English standards, 60 of our educators from North Dakota examined the standards and recommended their adoption. After public comment, the committee adjusted the standards to fit what is best for North Dakota students.
CONTENT: Standards are grade level expectations. They are “what students should know” by the time they have completed a grade level. They do not stipulate instructional methods, assessments, resources, or scope and sequence of how the information is taught. Teachers use the standards as a guide while developing curriculum to achieve student success. Standards are critical to student success. Educators support innovated and quality standards-based instruction. We need to support the professionals in the field to do what they are trained to do.
ASSESSMENT: It’s important to note that the CC Standards do not demand a statewide assessment but our ND law does. Research shows that standards based education, coupled with a series of formative and summative assessments, promotes student learning and increases the effectiveness of our educational system. As we track the progress of our students, assessment provides a way for North Dakota to compare results with other states. Our students need to be prepared to succeed wherever they choose to live.
SUPPORT: The ND Business Community, the ND School Boards Assn., ND United (teachers), the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders (administrators), and the ND Chamber of Commerce support the ND State standards, and more specifically, support the ability of local school boards to make decisions based on what works in their respective communities.
CONCLUSION: Representative Kasper has proposed is an unnecessary overhaul of a highly functional system. The current path that supports a rigorous, standards based education for all students, combined with excellent professional development opportunities for staff members has served as an effective mechanism for improving our schools. As a state, our test scores and graduation rates continue to increase as we continue to fine-tune the process. We need to let our school boards continue to oversee the educational process, let school administrators lead, and, let our teachers teach. The following Web link will take you to the entire bill. http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/documents/15-0289-06000.pdf?20150127132144