Dozens protest "one size fits all" education standards - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Dozens protest "one size fits all" education standards

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Some children were missing from their classrooms as they joined their parents in downtown Columbia to protest Common Core education standards.

The group gathered at the state Department of Education Monday morning, on a day dubbed as "National Don't Send Your Child to School Day."

The parents, politicians and stakeholders are against a new approach to education which is supposed to be a clear set of goals designed help students succeed in English, Language Arts and Math.

Common Core is built to make the learning process in classrooms across the state and nation more consistent, with all grades are learning the same material.

State Senator Lee Bright said he believes the standards are a "top down" approach from Washington. "The parents are who should be in control of the education of our children," he said.

"Common Core is out of control," said Bright. "It was one of those things, like so many things from Washington come with chains attached ... And it's all about four and a half billion dollars in Race to the Top money."

"It all comes down to the money folks," said Bright. "That's what our education process has become."

The standards have little support from the State Department of Education's Superintendent.

"He believes in customizing education at a local level, when you have a one size fits all requirements from Washington or anywhere else basically stating this is how you're going to learn and every child is going to learn the same material the same way on the same schedule, he knows that doesn't work," said state department of education spokesman Dino Teppara last week.

Changing state law falls to the State Board of Education and Education Oversight Committee.

Bright says he is behind a bill to overhaul education in the state.

"This is something we can do in South Carolina," said Bright. "We've got a bill to stop this."

"Those are the two entities that approved the common core standards before Dr. Zais got elected but we want to work with everyone to be on the same page going forward," Teppara said.

Zais points to recent state report cards claiming giving districts flexibility has meant better grades.

The South Carolina Education Association on Monday afternoon said its disappointed some parents kept their kids out of school.

All this group accomplished, in fact, was to deny their children a day's worth of valuable school instructional time," said SCEA President Jackie B. Hicks. "We should never use our children as political pawns."

Hicks said the Common Core standards were not drafted by the federal government. "South Carolina decision-makers voluntarily adopted the standards, which are a commonsense alternative to the ill-advised No Child Left Behind initiative," said Hicks.

"We believe that Common Core provides more manageable curriculum goals and greater freedom for educators to use their professional judgment and creativity in planning and instruction," said Hicks. "The standards guide curriculum rather than restrict it. We owe it to our students to provide educators with the time, tools, and resources to get it right."

"We understand that change is difficult, and aligning instructional plans to the standards will take time," said Hicks. "But we need to put Common Core into the larger context of providing our students with the best access possible to the wide range of skills and knowledge that will allow them to thrive in work and life."

For more information about Common Core standards, click here.

For more information about the protest, click here.

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