2013-11-30 / News

Some parents question Common Core

By Charles Prince

BALTIMORE – Some parents have been questioning the State of Ohio’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards at the last three regular meetings of the Liberty Union-Thurston Board of Education.

Ohio is one of 45 states to adopt Common Core which is setting national educational standards for English and Math.

Melanie Harrison, who moved into the district last year from Pickerington, has been the most outspoken. She and her husband, Chris, have three students in the district. She told board members in October that they moved here seeking a district with more local control. Harrison believes board members have heard just one side of the story about Common Core.

“Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is to education, what ObamaCare is to healthcare,” she said. “We have to pass it to find out what is in it, or in this case what is missing.”

Opposition to CCSS is growing across the country with some states leaving the consortiums. Harrison objects to what she calls its one-size-fits-all, top-down, centralized standards that replace local and/or state standards. “If a mistake is made, the damage is much greater because 45 states are doing the same thing and can’t easily change.”

An elementary parent, Jenny Keller, said, “I focus on spelling. We’re doing four letter words in the fourth grade. I don’t see the increased rigor.”

Harrison said cursive writing is a new gap. Her fifth grade son can’t read or write cursive.

Superintendent Paul Mathews said, “We retain local control over reading texts.” With respect to concerns about peer review, he said it has been around long before Common Core.

“Math standards are rigorous,” Mathews added. “School districts are always looking at gaps. I don’t think it creates any new gaps. It is not a watering down of curriculum.”

Harrison urged the board to “keep education local.” “Keep it local and decentralized,” she said. She concluded by telling board members that parents “want to work with you.”

At the Nov. 11 board meeting, Harrison told board members she is continuing to research CCSS.

In other business at the Octo ber meeting, district treasurer David Butler presented the bi-annual five year financial forecast. “We will be solvent for the five years assuming the state maintains the first two years of funding for the full five years.”

Board members also discussed options for improving the two athletic fields at the elementary/ middle school complex and reseeding the high school football field.

“They are certainly due for a face lift,” Mathews said. He believes it would cost about $13,000 to irrigate the two fields, noting that they aren’t in the exact location as envisioned in the districts long-term plan. No decision were made.

At the Nov. 11 board meeting, Butler reported that income tax revenue for the quarter ending in October was down $14,000 versus last year. Real estate taxes were collected at 103 percent of what was billed in February. “There isn’t too much additional delinquency left (to collect),” he added.

The marching band was honored at the November meeting. “It is an amazing track record,” Mathews said. While Liberty Union is in Class C in terms of size, the band voluntarily moved up to Class A. For the seventh straight year, the 58-member band was awarded a ‘superior’ rating at the state finals. “Rain started just as it was our turn,” Mathews said. “They put on a fantastic performance.”

Eighth grader Sydnee Mangette was honored for being named Mid-State League Junior High Runner-of-the-Year. She came in first at the MSL meet . Mathews said she had the fastest time ever for a junior high girl in the long established Galion Meet. “You had a fantastic season.”

Emily Aneshansley and Adam Snyder were honored as the September Students of the Month. Aneshansley is a sophomore and the daughter of Erica Blosser and Troy Culbertson. She is the president of the sophomore class and active in 4-H, Leo Club, Interact Club, Spanish Cluf, FFA, soccer, basketball and track.

Snyder is a junior and the son of Danny and Sherri Snyder. He plays football and baseball, and participates in the Model United Nations.

Autumn Miller and Kennedy Sherman are the October Students of the Month. Miller is a junior and daughter of Steve and Debbie Miller. She is active in Student Council, Interact Club, Foreign Language Club, FFA, Prom Committee and is on the volleyball, basketball and softball teams.

Sherman is a senior and the daughter of Charles and Keri Waite. She keeps the varsity football stats, works on the yearbook staff and is a member of the track team.

Board members approved the following supplemental contracts at their October and November meetings.

• Pam Dean - Jr. High basketball cheerleading;

• James Peck - 8th Grade girls basketball; and

• Tony Caito - 7th Grade girls basketball.

Ben Bethel’s resignation as 7th grade girls basketball coach was accepted.

At a Nov. 25 special meeting, board members employed Joseph Peardon as maintenance supervisor. He will replace Kenny Kosch who is retiring at the end of the year. Peardon has children in the district and currently is supervising 25 maintenance employees at the Defense Construction Supply Center in Columbus where he is responsible for maintaining all DCSC buildings.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, in the district office.

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