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Ohio Educator Talks Common Core, Standardized Tests at National Meeting

PHOTO: Becky Higgins, President of the Ohio Education Association, is among thousands of educators gathered for a national meeting to discuss pressing issues facing students and teachers. Photo credit: Ohio Education Association.
PHOTO: Becky Higgins, President of the Ohio Education Association, is among thousands of educators gathered for a national meeting to discuss pressing issues facing students and teachers. Photo credit: Ohio Education Association.
July 1, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Education leaders from Ohio and around the nation are gathered in Denver, Colorado, this week to explore the issues facing students, schools, and teachers.

Ohio Education Association President Becky Higgins is at the National Education Association's (NEA) Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly. She says the new Common Core Standards and standardized testing are among the topics being discussed - adding that many educators feel there's an over-emphasis on testing that is causing too much stress in the classroom.

"We need to hit a 'pause' button on all the standardized testing," says Higgins. "See what works, what doesn't and what's best for children, what's best for the students; the time it's taking away from classroom teaching - there's just so much that goes into it."

Ohio recently approved HB 487, legislation that would delay for one year the use of student test scores in assessing the performance of teachers and local school districts.

Higgins thinks even more time would be helpful, so teachers can become more familiar with the Common Core Standards, and can help students evaluate their own strengths and needs in order to succeed.

She believes too many high-stakes decisions are being based on standardized testing, including teachers' performance evaluations. She cites Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee as an example.

"Third graders are being tested and then, based on a score, it's being determined whether they are able to go onto fourth grade," she says. "And I can tell you that, as a first-grade teacher, that's a lot of pressure being put on one test."

During the national NEA gathering, Higgins says educators will also continue their work to improve school safety, in light of the U.S. Senate's failure to pass comprehensive school safety legislation last year.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH