The deadline for the Colorado State Board of Education to decide whether to approve Common Core Standards (CCS) is fast approaching, now only two weeks away. The debate continues to pick up steam. Are these academic standards for K-12 students truly high quality and voluntary? Is there truly a benefit beyond the money tied to adopting Common Core?
One argument against adopting math and language arts CCS for Colorado — besides legitimate fears of opening the doors to expanded federal government influence on local school curricula — is the potential conflict with existing state standards. Only seven months ago the State Board of Education adopted new academic standards in 11 areas. Which raises some natural questions: Do we really need to re-invent the wheel? Are the quasi-national CCS more focused and rigorous than Colorado’s new standards?
These questions remain open. But we are beginning to get some clearer answers. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) on Friday released “Gap Analysis” reports from the private contractor WestEd, seeking to identify the significant differences between the two sets of standards. At the same time, the locally-based committees that helped draft Colorado’s math and language arts standards issued responses.
On Wednesday at 2 PM the Colorado State Board of Education will convene to weigh the input before the crucial August 2 decision. Can Common Core enhance and improve Colorado’s new standards? Or is the local product more rigorous? Do we even need Common Core? Wednesday’s State Board meeting will be held virtually (find “Colorado SBE2″) and is open to approximately 100 people.
Participating in the web-based meeting is one way to get involved. You also can peruse the information on your own and send an email response to Standards_Review_Com@cde.state.co.us