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Teachers' Union Gets Behind Common Core State Standards

June 4, 2010

FRANKFORT, Kenn. - Kentucky's recent move to lead the way in adopting a new set of national education standards, released this week, is being hailed by the state's largest educator's union. The Common Core State Standards lay out what kids should be learning, and by when, regardless of whether they live in Lexington or Los Angeles.

Sharron Oxendine, president of the Kentucky Education Association, says the standards themselves are uniform, but there's room for teachers to help students learn in ways they can best understand.

"It's the flexibility within each state to teach the standards, but assess it based on the students' knowledge level of what they're familiar with in their particular culture."

Implementation of the new standards will take time, but Oxendine says teachers in Kentucky can consider the new guidelines as "summer reading."

"I think that's when the teachers in the state will have an opportunity to see what they're going to be teaching, and what kids will need to know when they get to their classes."

Oxendine describes the new standards as "in-depth, but more narrow," and she's hopeful that will give teachers time to revisit key areas and prevent some of the "in one ear and out the other," which happens in classrooms.

"They will help create some really exciting lessons that will help the students grasp that concept and actually put it somewhere in their brain that they can remember it forever instead of just for that particular class."

Critics of the project worry it will nationalize public schools and take rights away from states to determine what's best for their students. Kentucky became the first state to adopt the common core standards back in February.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY