Feb 3, 2014 10:20 AM by David Jay - MTN News

Common Core Standards raise concerns for some parents

BILLINGS - Montana and several other states adopted Common Core Standards in 2011.

The plan is for the new standards for English and Math to be implemented by 2015.

Some parents have questions about the standards.

Debra Lamm heads a group called Montanans Against Common Core.

"Here we have private organizations that are involved in the standards," Lamm said. "And these two groups didn't write them. They actually contracted with a group called Achieve, Inc."
Lamm is referring to the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Elder Grove Superintendent Justin Klebe invited the state's Deputy Superintendent Dennis Parman and a panel of experts to explain Common Core to parents at Elder Grove, this past fall.

"State leaders, governors and state superintendents getting together saying we can do this." Parman said. "We have the authority to do this."

The Montana Office of Public Instruction joined other states in implementing Common Core.

"Granted, the states voluntarily did it," Lamm said. "However they were coerced, I believe, through the federal race to the top grant money."

"They were incentivized by the Obama administration," Parman said. "By Arne Duncan leading the Department of Education."

Laura Needham became concerned with Common Core Standards in math and English at Elder Grover elementary School.
So last fall, she invited Lamm to speak in Billings.

"It's as if our state is giving permission for a little more power out of the federal government," Needham said. "That concerns me because I don't want to lose my voice as a parent. "

Lamm also said the governors and superintendents went around Congress and the legislature.
Parman disagrees saying the state board of education approved the standards.

"They wanted to know 'how come I didn't know they were getting adopted,'" Parman said. "And sometimes I want to say where you been the last 20 years because they used the same process they've always used."

But some say they're still concerned with what the standards will do to the curriculum.

"I would like Montana to not give up their educational sovereignty, " Needham said.

"How we teach it is completely up to the school," Klebe said.

"It is no longer being done at the local level as far as the standards because the standards are nationalized."

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards.

Texas, Virginia, Nebraska, Alaska and Minnesota have not adopted Common Core Standards.

According to the Heartland Institute, 20 states are reconsidering the standards.


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