Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday recommended in a letter that the Arkansas State Board of Education proceed with their review of the Common Core State Standards using the recommendations of his Common Core executive council.
Arkansas’ revisions of standards will follow a formal and public review, assessment, and public comment procedure. Hutchinson directs the State Board of Education to:
- provide ample time to review and revise standards as needed,
- change the name of the standards, if needed,
- facilitate communication between the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), school districts, and parents regarding standards,
- allow other bodies (e.g., legislature) to review recommendations as needed, and
- safeguard student data.
Some things the key decision-makers need to consider.
- Changing the name if you don’t change the standards is simply playing games with parents and citizens who have spent the time fighting against Common Core. If you’re not going to be serious about changing the Common Core be honest about it and don’t bother changing the name. Parents do expect different standards however so the end process should be standards that look vastly different than Common Core.
- Do not follow the path of Kentucky and Louisiana having parents to go through an arduous public comment process online. Make it simple, don’t expect your parents provide comments and a rewrite of each standard they object to. Let parents comment on the Common Core math and ELA standards as a whole.
- Have face-to-face public comment opportunities with parents, teachers and taxpayers throughout the state at times they are available to come. The State Board should meet at different locations and don’t have meetings during the day or right when the work day ends. That does not help facilitate good participation. These meetingssd should happen at night.
- Look at and seriously consider quality standards from other states that predate Common Core. I would suggest Massachusetts’ ELA standards and California’s math standards.
- It would be best to start from a clean slate assuming all of the standards need to go, rather than through a process that seeks to just “tweak” individual standards.
- Also measures to protect student data in the state should not rely upon FERPA as a guide as that federal law has essentially been gutted.