Lindbergh approves statement of support for new standards

Lindbergh board votes 5-1 to OK statement of support

By By Mike Anthony

A statement of support for the Missouri Common Core State Standards recently was approved by the Lindbergh Board of Education.

The State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards for math and English as part of the Missouri Learning Standards in 2010. The new standards will be in use in all public school districts in the state by fall 2014.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Nancy Rathjen said, “The cabinet is recommending tonight that the Board of Education endorse the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s statement of support for the Missouri Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards are a set of high-quality academic expectations or objectives for English/language arts and mathematics in grades K through 12.

“The Common Core State Standards draw from the best of the standards across the country and are benchmarked or compared to the top-performing nations around the world … The Common Core State Standards outline the knowledge and skills students should master by the end of each grade level in order to be on track and ready for college or technical training and a career …,” she added.

Board members voted 5-1 with one abstention to approve the statement of support for the standards. Opposed was board member Kate Holloway. Board Treasurer Kara Gotsch abstained because she was out of the room during the discussion of the issue.

Holloway said a great deal of “conflicting information” is connected to the Common Core State Standards, including maintaining local control, privacy issues, flexibility of content, assessment costs and teachers’ evaluations during the transition to the new standards.

“I do feel that my questions were answered efficiently,” she said. “I am confident of Lindbergh’s continued achievements on high levels with our students and we continue to be impressed every month when we have our student recognitions … I am confident the excellence will continue. We are very fortunate to have the administrative leadership in that …”

But legislation relating to the Common Core Standards is pending in the Legislature, and Holloway said she would withhold her endorsement of the standards until the legislative process is finished.

The advantages of the Common Core State Standards, according to the statement approved by the Board of Education, include:

• “Fewer and consistent learning goals for all students — regardless of where they live — so that children will stay on track in school when moving from one state to another.”

• “A clear road map of academic expectations, so that students, parents and teachers can work together toward shared goals.”

• “Relevance to the real world, focusing on the knowledge and skills students will need to succeed in life after high school, in both postsecondary education and a globally competitive work force.”

• “Academically rigorous, attainable standards for students, designed by a diverse team of teachers, parents, administrators, researchers and content experts to be practical for teachers and districts.”

In her remarks to the board, Rathjen said, “… The standards help guide the writing of curriculum, but they are not our curriculum. All of our curricula are written by teams of teachers and administrators. All units, lessons and activities which comprise a curriculum guide are written by Lindbergh teachers and always have been.

“As always, it will be up to Lindbergh to devise the lesson plans and tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of the students in our classrooms. We make our recommendation for many strong reasons after working with and gaining knowledge of the Common Core State Standards for the last two years …,” she added.

In approving the statement of support for the Common Core State Standards, the Lindbergh school board joined more than 400 school districts, businesses, individuals and colleges and universities that also have endorsed Missouri’s implementation of the standards for math and English language arts.

Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call, “The Common Core Standards really take education one step further in terms of getting students ready for college and for a global marketplace, which I’m very much focused upon. I know these students are going to have a very, very competitive job market, and really this generation … their careers are going to be ever under pressure from other countries, other technologies, other economies.

“And Common Core allows us to integrate digital instruction, digital learning. It makes sure we are aligning our curriculum to make sure that students have that preparation and we’re not missing anything …”