Last updated: March 11. 2014 7:05AM - 1086 Views
By Rachel McAuley rmcauley@civitasmedia.com

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LAURINBURG — The state’s educational standards need to be “clear, concise and measurable,” said Lindalyn Kakadelis, director of education outreach at the John Locke Foundation, who spoke about the issue at the Republican Party headquarters Monday.

Kakadelis was the guest at a combined meeting of the Scotland County Republican Women and the county GOP, asked to attend and speak about Common Core Curriculum.

“N.C. had very, very, very, weak standards,” Kakadelis told her audience of about 20. “A good standard needs to be clear — everyone needs to understand it. It needs to be concise and it needs to be measurable. I need to know if a child has learned that.”

The Common Core State Standards — taught to children in public school from kindergarten to 12th grade — are a series of grade-by-grade educational standards but Kakadelis suggested there should be recognizable levels of achievement so that people can better understand its terms and requirements and parents could know how well their children are learning the material.

Kakadelis, quoting a publication by a college and career readiness agency, said education needs “national standards” for math and English and “to get everybody to agree to it — because we have 50 states and everybody wants to do what they want to do.”

In 2010, the administration of President George W. Bush claimed the No Child Left Behind program would lead to 100 percent grade-level proficiency, but Kakadelis said 12 years later “we are not proficient.”

Kakadelis said kids are not being taught adequate reading and writing skills, and gave an example of a student who may be able to solve a math problem without difficulty but would be unable to explain his answer if asked how he worked out the problem.

“These standards will put our kids two years behind,” she said.

The state test scores of 2012-2013 for third to eighth grade students were developed by the Department of Public Instruction. The first assessments given were aligned to the Common Core. Statewide scores showed 66.5 percent of all students below grade level. The failure rate among black male students was 86.5 percent.

“There is something desperately wrong with our standards and our tests,” Kakadelis said. “Something is wrong. We don’t want to go back to standard testing but we need to fix Common Core.”

She suggested that those with concerns speak with the state board of education and local representatives.

“This, hopefully, will be fixed,” she said. “This is a marathon — not a sprint. It is absolutely ridiculous how we’re testing in schools. We just teach those kids to death. We’re not leaving time for teachers to teach.”

Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.

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