Common Core standards stir discussion, debate

A project to develop national standards for K-12 instruction was a topic of debate in Jefferson City this week.

The discussion centers on the Common Core state standards. The standards were created as part of a project by the National Governors Association in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers. The project was aimed at improving student achievement in response to studies showing that many high school graduates were not adequately prepared to enter college or the workforce.

The standards for math and English language studies were released in 2010 and were adopted in Missouri and 44 other states. Most Missouri school districts have implemented the Common Core.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce support the Common Core as a way to ensure that the business community is receiving well trained young people prepared to compete in tomorrow’s globally competitive economy.

However, the project is receiving continued scrutiny in Missouri and elsewhere.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Common Core opponents had their say during a House hearing on House Bill 1708, which would prohibit the implementation of Common Core standards in Missouri. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles.

Those who oppose the Common Core argue that the creation of national standards encroaches upon individual states and their educational systems. Some are also concerned about how data gathered to track student performance and health will be stored and used. Others go further with accusations that the Common Core will be used for political agenda setting or social engineering.

In its support of the Common Core and Missouri’s educational system, the Missouri Chamber is hopeful that both sides can come to an understanding on this issue. To be prepared for the economy of the future Missouri must have a highly-educated, innovative workforce that can compete in the global marketplace.

For more information about education issues, contact Jay Atkins, Missouri Chamber General Counsel, at 573-634-3511 or by email at jatkins@mochamber.com.