"Show a target and hold it steady and people will meet the target."

That's the philosophy of Hudson City School Superintendent Phil Herman, in light of the current controversy over Ohio schools' Common Core curriculum.

State lawmakers are hoping to get enough support during a series of hearings and a committee vote to repeal the Common Core standards, which Ohio schools have been working toward for years.

"We can't have our state content be a pendulum all the time, swinging back and forth if we are going to expect school districts to be able respond and work towards implementing the state curriculum," Herman told the Hudson Hub-Times.

"The Common Core standards identify what students should be able to do," according to Doreen Osmun, assistant superintendent of Hudson City Schools.

Osmun offered examples of Common Core standards.

Second-graders must learn to compare and contrast two or more characters settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing in specific details in the text, or show how characters interact, Osmun said. Fifth graders must write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization and analysis of relevant content. Sixth graders must write expressions that record operations with numbers and with letters standing for numbers, such as express the calculation "subtract y from 5 as 5 - y," she added.

The legislation was announced July 28 by Reps. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) during a press conference at the Statehouse and outlined a committee hearing process that could start in a couple of weeks.

"This new bill will fully repeal the Common Core standards, institute new proven high standards and assessments, ensure confidentiality of student data and return control to the citizens of Ohio," Thompson said, adding later, "We want to look at standards that are tested, proven and effective so that Ohio has something that they can rely on… and have good data on what has worked."

Huffman added, "We all want high standards for our schools and for our kids. We all want local control -- we want parents to be directly involved… We also want a system that is manageable and efficient for local school districts … This bill is meant to address those multiple problems that the Common Core has really foisted upon the state of Ohio."

The bill is the latest salvo in a growing debate at Statehouses across the country on Common Core, a national movement to implement more uniform educational standards in classrooms.

Proponents say Common Core is an effort to ensure every high school graduate has the foundational knowledge needed for college, technical schools or other career paths.

But opponents say the standards represent an overreach of the federal government and corporate interests into local classrooms, with resulting textbook lessons so convoluted or awkwardly phrased that students and their parents don't understand them.

But how will the proposed change affect local districts which have been working to meet the standards?

It could create educational inefficiencies, according to Herman.

Ohio school districts, including Hudson, have been working to meet the mandated Common Core standards, which are an improvement over previous standards, Herman said Aug. 1. Preparation has meant purchasing new materials, teacher training and professional development, he added.

"If Common Core standards are no longer the standard for the state, and that's what we have been preparing for, it clearly created inefficiency in terms of educational improvement," Herman said.

Osmun called the Common Core standards a road map for local school districts learning expectations.

"The Common Core does not dictate how a teacher teaches," she added. "It provides the legal targets for students. The level of rigor in the standards is much more advanced than the old state standards."

Omsun does not feel Common Core state standards "are the problem."

"The expectations are students must have a deep understanding and have the skills to apply their learning to many situations," she said. "The standards, and the instructional shifts that we have made in response to the standards, are good for students."

Thompson earlier introduced a bill to repeal Common Core standards in Ohio, prohibit the state board of education from using assessments based on those standards and block the dissemination of certain student data to the federal government. But Thompson's initial bill quickly stalled, without enough support from other Republicans in the chamber or the chairman of the education committee.

State education officials aren't taking a firm position on the new legislation.

"We do what legislators tell us to do," said John Charlton, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. "Right now, we're continuing to move forward to implement [the Common Core standards]."

Charlton did say that repealing Common Core would be difficult for the state's 600-plus districts and 4,000 schools, which have purchased textbooks, planned lessons and made other investments in teaching the standards since the state adopted them about five years ago.

"It would be very difficult," he said, adding, "It would be difficult at this point to stop the process."

Kovac, Dix Capital Bureau Chief, assisted on this article.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

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