Wichita’s state school board member today assailed common core standards for schools, saying they do little to prepare students for college or a career.
Walt Chappell told the Republican Wichita Pachyderm Club that the core standards will be a worse drag on schools than the controversial “No Child Left Behind” testing mandates in place now.
He called common core standards “No Child Left Behind on steroids.”
“Unless we push back … this is going to be a problem that will take years, decades to recover,” Chappell said.
The object of Chappell’s ire is a national movement to establish common educational goals in math and language.
Kansas adopted the standards in 2010 and is in the process of implementing them, Chappell said. Tests based on the new standards are expected by 2014, he said.
Chappell criticized the math standards in particular, distributing a list of properties and principles which are part of the standards, but which he said most workers other than engineers and mathematicians don’t need to know.
The standards require “so much time teaching kids procedures of how to solve a problem, they can’t do basic math,” he said.
He also said forcing teachers to “teach to the test” in two subject areas shortchanges other important subjects such as science, history, and geography.
“Other subjects we want kids to learn, they (teachers) don’t have time to teach,” Chappell said.
Chappell said in an effort to prove his point that standardized tests are irrelevant to real life, he had offered to take the current state assessment test and challenged his fellow board members to do the same to see if they could pass it.
“I got blank stares (and) sqirming in the chairs,” he said.
Chappell also urged the Pachyderms to support four bills currently before the Legislature:
House Bill 2645, which would require high schoolers to complete a class in financial literacy.
Senate Bills 69 and 278, which would mandate that instances of bullying be reported to principals within 24 hours, that parents be notified of such incidents, and that all bullying allegations be investigated within 10 days to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted.
Senate Bill 393, which would allow high school students to enroll in vocational education classes at community colleges and technical schools. That bill is slated for an Education Committee hearing in Topeka on Tuesday.