Protestors gathered at the state Capitol on Feb. 11 hoping to stop schools from implementing the new Common Core standards in Colorado. The standards are designed to make clear what English and math content students should know – and to bring some educational uniformity across the country.
A new bill in the Colorado State Assembly wouldn’t get rid of the Common Core standards altogether, but it would delay their implementation by a year. It would also delay implementation of state standards for social studies and science, which are not part of the Common Core initiative.
The bill – SB 14-136 – is sponsored by State Senator Vicki Marble, a Republican from Fort Collins. It is scheduled to be heard in committee Thursday, Feb. 14.
Schools across the state are already rolling out Common Core standards, but as the date for testing approaches, some parents and teachers are expressing disapproval. The criticism is coming from both the far right and the far left, Nic Garcia says, Garcia is a reporter with Chalkbeat Colorado, an online education news service in the state.
Critics, which include grassroots groups from northern Colorado and Pueblo, claim the standards create a uniformity that is too rigorous for some students and not challenging enough for others. Garcia says these critics call the Common Core standards “a race to the middle.” They argue that the standards rob school districts of the ability to set their own curricula. Additionally, some teachers fear that potential poor outcomes on student proficiency tests would affect their jobs.
Although no state has yet to abandon the Common Core, there are efforts to delay their implementation elsewhere, Garcia says.
“States like Tennessee, Wisconsin – even New York– they’re all taking a step back and re-evaluating,” Garcia notes.
Supporters of the Common Core standards say rolling back implementation would be a mistake.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign issued a statement stating: “This bill would abandon the years of study, research and development that was invested in the creation of our new standards and assessments just as everything is coming together.”