Published Online: August 28, 2014

Okla. Education Board creates standards committee

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Board of Education created a steering committee Wednesday to develop the process for replacing Common Core education standards for English and math instruction in the state's public schools.

Board members stressed it is merely an interim step toward creating the new standards in the wake of the Legislature in June repealing Common Core standards, which were scheduled to take full effect in the current school year.

"The committee is establishing the best process for establishing the standards," board member Amy Ford said.

The board has set no deadline for creation of the new instructional standards, but the legislation said they needed to be in place by 2016. All new instructional standards and revisions will be subject to legislative review, according to the bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

"We are getting dangerously short on time," state Department of Education chief of staff Joel Robison said.

Under the new law, Oklahoma must return to old instructional standards, known as Priority Academic Student Skills, that were in place before June 2010.

Ford was named as the steering committee's chair, and will be joined by board members Lee Baxter and Bill Price. The committee also will have eight others members — including representatives from higher education and career and technology education, the state Departments of Commerce and Education and a school administrator, the parent of a public school student, a math teacher and an English teacher. The board plans to appoint those eight next month.

The Common Core standards were adopted in Oklahoma in 2010 as part of an initiative of the National Governors Association to clearly outline what students are expected to learn and know by each grade level. More than 40 other states have adopted Common Core, but there was been growing concern in Oklahoma, especially among conservatives, that the standards represented a federal takeover of state education.

Fallin, former head of the NGA, tried to alleviate those concerns in December when she signed an executive order stating Oklahoma would be responsible for deciding how to implement the standards, but opposition continued to mount.

Fallin said when she signed the bill that the federal government had tied funding for the state's public schools to certain Common Core guidelines.

The more rigorous Common Core standards were supported by the business community as a way to help better prepare Oklahoma students for college or the workforce.


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