Not only is The Daily Oklahoman Editorial Board still trying to denigrate the new Oklahoma Academic Standards, they manage to insult educators in the process. Of course, given the board’s history in covering public education, this is clearly intentional.
Make the public think that the Oklahoma educators who created these standards didn’t know what they’re doing, whip up some old fashioned fear of not being the best, and suddenly, people are going to demand that we scrap an entire year of work by our best educators.
We think not.
THE good news about Oklahoma’s proposed new academic standards for English and math is they appear at least a marginal improvement over the old standards. Yet experts say the proposed standards still include “gibberish” and that “extensive rewriting” is needed.
The Oklahoman continues to trot out two discredited critics: Jenni “I didn’t even read the standards” White, who is education director of Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment (ROPE), and doesn’t believe education is worth saving; and Sandra “I only like my own standards; please buy my book” Stotsky, a professor emerita at the University of Arkansas.
Naturally, they have ignored the 60 letters of support from Oklahoma school administrators, professors, and other education experts, including one from another professor at the University of Arkansas. They have ignored the words of a State School Board member and retired general who supports approving the standards.
In prepared testimony at a legislative hearing last week, Tara Huddleston, an Oklahoma teacher who now runs a business assisting low-performing schools, said she was “surprised” by the standard’s lack of substance and noted veteran teachers she works with believe “the new standards’ vagueness and lack of exemplars will make it difficult for them to teach …”
Perhaps the Editorial board has been too busy rounding up former educators who work with “veteran teachers” (this is an example of weasel words) who dislike the “vagueness” and “lack of exemplars.”
Weren’t we concerned about federal overreach and the inclusion of inappropriate exemplars with Common Core State Standards? And didn’t we decide that standards are not curriculum (Of course, educators have known that all along!) and that the exemplars (student work) and sample lesson plans will be created separately?
Oklahoma educators are already in the process of curating recommended lesson plans, suggested reading lists, and other sources from around the state and publishing them this summer.
If lawmakers don’t reject the proposed standards by Wednesday, they automatically take effect for the next six years. While lawmakers might revisit standards again before that six-year limit, subsequent changes would lead to ongoing disruption for teachers, mandating constant revision of curriculum, testing, and even textbooks. That’s hardly ideal. It’s far better to revise the standards upfront than midstream.
We believe that educators (NOT lawmakers!) listening to feedback from actual classroom teachers and adjusting the standards, as needed, over the next six years is much less disruptive than throwing the entire set of standards out the window and starting over.
Give us something to work with, and let us tell you what needs to be changed!
Educational quality starts with solid standards. It’s more important to do this job right than to do it quickly.
Actually, educational quality starts with a dedicated teacher with access to resources. How about we stop quibbling over the standards and start working towards funding education and stemming the teacher shortage. It’s more important to do THIS job; and it does need to be done quickly before the the ship sinks.