By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
A panel of educators released a draft of proposed national math and English academic guidelines Wednesday designed to provide more uniform and stringent standards for all students.
Texas and Alaska were the only states that refused to participate in the effort, citing that each state should determine what's best for students to learn in its public schools.
The project, headed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, seeks to provide consistent benchmarks to better prepare students for life after high school, and replace the hodgepodge of standards across the country.
Supporters also hope it would make transitions easier for students moving from one state to another.
State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, said that the proposed standards are very similar to the ones Texas already has in place, adding that he worries about the nationalization of schools.
"Texas has been developing rigid standards for years now. … I thought our standards were ahead of national standards," Aycock said Wednesday. "I'm one of those guys who believes in local control, and the farther we move from local decision makers, the worse it gets."
Governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia cooperated in developing national standards in English-language arts and mathematics for kindergarten through high school.
According to the draft, students would learn basic addition and subtraction principles in kindergarten and begin learning multiplication and division in third grade.
Second-graders should know how to paraphrase stories and compare and contrast characters and events.
Brandie Cleaver, director of the Centroplex P-20 Regional Council, a coalition of educators from local colleges and school districts, said there is a benefit to building upon current state standards.
"If a state doesn't have those standards in place, it would be beneficial," Cleaver said, adding that Texas has already implemented many of the proposed guidelines.
"Sharing standards and utilizing best practices among states is a good thing for all learners."
Central Texas College spokeswoman Barbara Merlo said having national guidelines could help those who frequently move, especially in military communities.
"Because a big part of our student population are from military families and did not graduate in Texas," she said, "it would be good if everybody came into college with the same base of knowledge."
The public is invited to view the Common Core State Standards Initiative online and leave comments. The proposed standards can be viewed at www.corestandards.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Rebecca LaFlure at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHeducation.