We suppose that if you can’t get a reputable enough critic from out-of-state, you’ll just have to do the critiquing yourself if you want to trash a year of work by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the committees of educators and professors who have worked together to create Oklahoma Academic Standards.
Just before the House and Senate took a break Wednesday, three resolutions concerning standards appeared on the record: SJR 75 and HJR 1071 seek to disapprove of the standards; HJR 1070 seeks to approve the standards.
State Sen. Josh Brecheen is the sponsor of the (Senate) resolution. He’s critical of the standards, calling them vague and saying the experts listed by the state have also become critical of the standards.
“Oklahoma will have to make a decision: do we want to, for political expediency, put a rubber stamp and say let’s get it done, or do we want to be (methodical),” he said.
We disagree that an either/or proposition exists in this situation. Oklahoma educators have been methodical for the past year as we have written, reviewed, revised, and reviewed again the Oklahoma Academic Standards. You can read our reviews here.
The OSDE created a presentation and package to help inform lawmakers, the majority of whom are not education experts, understand the word and expertise that went into the standards development. They delivered this on February 1.
Now, weeks later, stories like the one we quoted above, and op-ed pieces like the one by homeschooling expert Jenni White are cropping up in mainstream state media.
That’s not all. Retired educator Claudia Swisher pointed out in her article that one of our lawmakers took it upon himself to make a standards presentation — after all the educators left the Capitol on Tuesday:
Then, this week. Hours after educators and parents and children descended on the Capitol Tuesday morning, Representative Sykes hosted a presentation of his own…put on by Heartland Institute, with clear, strong ties back to ALEC. He had two experts who (insert gasp here) disapproved of the Standards. They ripped, they shredded. They created doubt and confusion.
Those two “experts” have already been discredited.
Back to Brecheen. It appears he had to take matters into his own hands, according to the NewsOK.com article above.
He has gone over the standards word by word, taking notes of his own and seeing areas where the curriculum for several grades in a row appears to be exactly the same. He’s worried that if the standards don’t give more examples or get into specifics it will be problematic for first-year teachers or even the many certified teachers who don’t know what’s expected of them.
First of all, our state was tasked with creating standards, NOT CURRICULUM. Curriculum is a set of specific lesson plans and resources educators create for use in their classrooms with their specific students. This is what Common Core State Standards included and was one of the reasons certain grassroots groups wanted to get rid of CCSS.
Standards are a set of guidelines, a progression of skills that teachers use as guideposts as they create and choose curriculum that will fit the needs and pique the interest of their students.
“We want the students and teachers to have the best standards in the nation,” he (Brecheen) said. “The eyes of the nation are in Oklahoma right now. We are the first and only state to have done a true repeal of Common Core.”
We do not believe that educators want the best standards in the nation. We want the right standards for our students, we want the ones that we created, and we want them now so we can start preparing our lessons, our curriculum, and our resources for our students.
Education is not a race, it’s not about being first, or being the best. It’s about doing what is right for our students, and then taking care of the people who are nurturing our state’s most precious resource.
No, I’m not talking about oil.