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June 6, 2014

Labyer says she’ll stick with Common Core teaching standards

DUNCAN — Duncan School Superintendent Sherry Labyer said Thursday teachers in the district she leads will continue using the so-called Common Core standards that now have been tossed aside by  Gov. Mary Fallin and  the Oklahoma Legislature.

“I refuse to go backward,” Labyer said.

Labyer, Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Chris Deal, Duncan High School science teacher Todd Ledford and a dozen other educators from around the state met with Fallin on Tuesday to urge her support for Common Core.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” she said of Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that does away with the widely accepted teaching standards that stress reason and depth of knowledge over memorization of data.

The public, she said, was mistaken in believing the Common Core approach gave the federal government more control over education standards in Oklahoma.

Ironically, Labyer said, reverting to standards under the so-called “No Child Left Behind” approach will give the federal government more ability to intrude into the state’s public education process.

She noted the federal government may now withhold federal funds it sends to Oklahoma for public schools because the Common Core standards were rejected.

In Marlow, School Superintendent  George Coffman said that election year politics played a role in the demise of Common Core.

“It just throws everything into a kink,” he said of Fallin signing the bill to repeal Common Core.

The Marlow district had hired a company to helps its teachers make the transition to Common Core expectations.

Coffman said Fallin and State Superintendent of Education Janet Barresi did a poor job of  explaining Common Core to the public.

Now his district is left wondering what textbooks it will need to meet the educations standards the Legislature keeps changing, he said.

“I just wish there was more input from those on the front line,” Coffman said. “But our kids are going to rise to the occassion. We’re going to continue to push the bar in Marlow.”



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