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Beyond the Classroom: N.D. standards developed in N.D

By Staff | Jan 23, 2015

There will be a bill introduced into the North Dakota Legislature to stop North Dakota from adopting the Common Core Educational Standards. There are those who are very passionate about this issue and then there are those who might just be hearing about Common Core Standards or North Dakota State Standards for the first time. A quick search on the internet will return volumes of information, both for and against the adoption of Common Core standards.

I am going to try to answer what Common Core standards are from the standpoint of an educator and a school administrator. The current concept of Common Core Standards began in about 2008, before the election of President Obama. According to “The History of Common Core State Standards” (Allie Bidwell, U.S. News and World Report, Feb. 27, 2014) the concept began with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who was then Chair of the National Governor’s Association and wrote an initiative which eventually led to the creation of the Common Core Standards.

Currently the Common Core Standards affect the English and Math standards. They will be part of the state-wide testing, which has been done in North Dakota for as long as I can remember. There are some important things to keep in mind about the North Dakota State Standards. The first is that North Dakota has had State Educational Standards for a very long time. The second is that the standards whether they be based on common core or something else, are simply standards that students are expected to be able to achieve. The standards do not now nor have they ever told teachers how they are supposed teach students. The methods of instruction are locally controlled. The third thing for people outside of education to know is that North Dakota Standards are periodically reviewed. This is sometimes a source of frustration for educators who have worked to achieve one set of standards only to have to adapt to another set of standards. This practice, however, is unavoidable. If not for constant upgrades, one of our state standards may still include the use of the slide rule!

So, why have national standards of any kind? The easiest answer is it allows states to compare our educational systems to one another. This became more important when the federal law known as “No Child Left Behind” was adopted in 2002. Because of the increased emphasis on students meeting proficiency at the national level, it became desirable to be able to see if students in one state were meeting the same standards in another state.

So, in summary, even though the current standards in North Dakota are based on the set of standards known as Common Core in English and Math, the standards used in North Dakota were still developed by North Dakota. If you have further questions about North Dakota State Standards, I urge you to contact your local administrator.

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