Liz McCormick Published

Yes or No to Common Core? W.Va. Isn't Sure.


Common Core is an educational initiative that has been in news headlines lately due to some controversy surrounding it. At the State Capitol yesterday, Delegates, Senators, and public met on the House floor to hear from eight representatives either for or against Common Core.

Some citizens against Common Core sat in on the meeting, sporting bright, yellow t-shirts that said in bold black letters, “save our students” on one side and “stop common core” on the other. Caution tape lined the aisles of the chamber as if a crime scene had taken place.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas, was one of six speakers from out of state to address the issue. She claims those who wrote up the standards were not qualified.

“When we get to actually who wrote the standards, which is where I came into action on the validation committee, it then turns out that most of the key writers for both the ELA and the math standards had no K-12 teaching experience at all,” said Stotsky, “the ELA, English Language Arts writers had no degree in English or English literature, they had no prior involvement with K-12 education, indeed they were totally unknown to everyone in the field. Who chose them, why they were chosen, to this day, we still don’t know, because everything was done non-transparently.”

One of the speakers supporting common core was Dave Spence, the President of the Southern Regional Education Board. He argues that the level of success since Common Core was adopted, has significantly impacted education levels.

“So having one set of standards is critically important along with insuring they are rigorous enough to predict readiness for post-secondary education,” said Spence, “At SREB, since 2007, we have argued that all states should have standard meeting these criteria relating to college and career readiness. We also believe that there’s not only one set of standards in literacy and math that would meet these readiness requirements. We do believe that the common core state standards rise to the level of college and career readiness. That is why and how they were developed and researched. What I hope we don’t lose sight of as states, is that where states were seven to eight years ago, before the common core, somewhere near 40 states, either in English Literacy, Math, or both, did not come up to the level of college and career readiness.”

Delegate Amanda Pasdon, the incoming chair on Education, says there’s a lot that needs to be discussed once the Legislature is in session.

“We need to have standards for our children,” Pasdon said, “certainly everybody needs accountability and we need standards set in education. What we’re learning about Common Core is that we had some challenges with the rollout, there was some challenges with implementation, and there’s been some backlash for that, and that’s understandable, so what we want to make sure more than anything that we do is get it right for our students and get it right for our children.”

So Pasdon agrees we need standards in West Virginia, either Common Core or not Common Core.