District getting jump on new ed. standards

While the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has delayed implementation of the Common Core academic standards, Warren County School District officials still expect the new guidelines to be implemented.

Over the last months, several states have rejected implementing the new benchmarks and the group Pennsylvanians Against Common Core is advocating for the Commonwealth to join that list.

Among the reasons they cite in opposition to the Common Core is the cost to implement, a fear of lower quality standards and a fear that the Common Core will “provide parents and school boards no resource to influence content or standards.” They also claim that the Common Core challenges the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, the federal government impinging on a right that belongs to states.

The standards were originally set to go into effect on July 1 but, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Gov. Tom Corbett delayed implementation after consulting with state lawmakers last month. The state board of education was tasked with making minor modifications to the standards and the corresponding assessment mechanisms, the Keystone Exams.

In the Warren County School District, students participated in Keystone Exams for the first time during the recently completed academic year and administration has been bringing pieces of the curriculum to the board for several months with revisions to reflect the change from the state’s academic standards to the Common Core.

With the uncertainty swirling, Board member Tom Knapp asked during the Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee meeting on Monday night whether the district is “jumping off the cliff.” He expressed concern that the Common Core appears to be a “one size fits all.”

“Most districts are preparing for when they are (approved),” Acting Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “We have no update. We’re not alone in getting in alignment.

“(I’m) confident we’re moving in the right direction,” she added. “I would be more concerned if we weren’t moving in that direction. We would have a lot of ground to make up.”