COMMON CORE CURRICULUM STIRS DEBATE IN MCHENRY COUNTY

Illinois Review –

CRYSTAL LAKE – The bubbling controversy over the Obama Administration’s education program popped up in McHenry County Wednesday night at a Common Core Summit, hosted by Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-14).

“My goal tonight is for us to have a discussion of all aspects of the Common Core State Standards,” Hultgren told the audience of 200. “In 2010, Illinois adopted the standards and plans to complete implementation by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.”

And that’s what Erin Raasch, the mother of a special needs child attending a public school, is concerned about. Raasch told the audience she first learned about the Common Core standards when she had a discussion with her child’s teacher about his inability to spell and do grammar correctly.

“I was told that as soon as my son learned to use the computer in the next grade, that he would not need to learn to spell, he could use spellcheck,” she said. Raasch’s research into the federal program energized her to establish a website StopCommonCoreIllinois.org to make Illinois parents aware of how their schools are revamping their children’s curriculum.

A revamping of Illinois’ curriculum standards was badly needed, Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli said. “After evaluating and comparing to other states, our organization gave Illinois’ previous curriculum standards a “D” as in “dog,” he told the audience. “Almost anything is better than what you had.”

Petrilli disagreed that Common Core standards left out literature and promoted “fuzzy math.” He said students heading for college should be prepared to read non-fiction and directions as well as fictional literature.

“Classics are included in the Common Core standards, and be reminded that the standards are minimal, the least a student should learn for their grade levels,” he said.

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