Missouri has always had a set of statewide standards that students were expected to meet and each district has been free to develop its own curriculum so its students would meet those standards, Dr. David Stephens, Nevada R-5 superintendent, said Wednesday.
The proposed Common Core is no different, it just extends that set of standards to most of the states in the country. Each district will still have local control of the curriculum that is taught, he said.
"Nevada is pretty close to full implementation," he said, adding that Nevada is in the third year of the process.
The Missouri state legislators who argue against the Common Core say there will be no local control of the curriculum, he said.
"That's just not accurate. It's just a set of standards, and Missouri has always had a common set of standards that students must master to graduate," Stephens said. "Each school district has always had the say in what curriculum they use to meet those standards."
"We must have state standards, if not national, otherwise each district will educate students differently. That's not good for the nation," he said.
Stephens noted that most school districts support the Common Core because they see it is good for kids.
"With all due respect to legislators, we're the ones who make it happen," he said.
"If people will take time to get educated about what Common Core is all about, they'll see it's good for kids and good for schools," Stephens said.
One of the strengths of the Common Core is these standards are intended to be used by most states and that will mean students in those states that adopt these standards will be required to master the same set of standards. This will simplify the transfer of credits between schools in different states that adopt the Common Core because the standards will be the same.
One question raised about the Common Core, is whether it replaces No Child Left Behind. Stephens said that it does not, but Missouri has received a waiver from some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind and Missouri is using the Common Core as one of the means to meet the requirements for rigorous academic standards.
According to information on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website, the Common Core was developed by a consortium of states and the federal government had no role in the development of the standards.
"The Missouri Depart-ment of Elementary and Secondary Education has adopted new academic standards to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need for college, other types of postsecondary training and a career.
"When students are college- and career-ready, they are less likely to need remedial classes to succeed at college-level work and are better prepared for the jobs of the future."
The DESE website explains that the Missouri Core Academic Standards include the Common Core State Standards for English/language arts and math.
"The Common Core State Standards:
* Build upon the strengths of Missouri existing state standards.
* Are research- and evidence-based.
* Are designed to be relevant to the real world and prepare students to live and work in today's global society and economy.
The standards do not require schools to use specific curriculum or teaching methods -- those decisions will continue to be made at the local level by school boards, superintendents, principals and teachers.
The Missouri Core Academic Standards will eventually include updated standards in other subject areas, including science, social studies and fine arts, as they are developed."