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Rugby Superintendent explains positives of CCSS

By Staff | Sep 27, 2013

Rugby Superintendent Mike McNeff believes the Common Core State Standards are positive for student development, and its standards were put in place to establish a benchmark for students throughout the country.

McNeff spoke to the Rugby Eagles Club on Sept. 23, setting straight some misconceptions about CCSS and explaining why it’s positive for students.

He said the decisions on the CCSS are made locally.

“The major issue is the idea that this is a national curriculum, meaning that the Common Core will force our teachers to teach specific things,” he said. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Common Core is a set of standards which means that we can teach and use any resource that we feel will meet the standard. This decision is local with our Rugby teachers deciding what will be taught.”

McNeff said many of the program’s opponents claim that it’s federally mandated, which he said is not accurate.

“One misconception of the CCSS is that it is led by the federal government,” he said. “The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that is not part of No Child Left Behind and adoption of the Standards is in no way mandatory. States began the work to create clear, consistent standards before the Recovery Act or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act blueprint was released because this work is being driven by the needs of the states, not the federal government. The only tie to the federal government is the accountability piece. There will still be tests that measure accountability of each school. Accountability will not go away under the CCSS. “

McNeff said having common standards allows for a more uniform education and fewer gaps from state to state.

“Currently it is very difficult to compare data from state to state due to all states having different standards,” he said. “There are varying levels of rigor between state standards as well. Students from out of state often have gaps when they come to North Dakota, largely due to our different standards. The CCSS will ensure a common set of standards across the United States. This will help with transient populations that exist in many schools.”

McNeff believes the standards are especially important for students to have success once they leave the high school environment, whether it’s for college or another opportunity.

“The CCSS are rigorous,” he said. “They are internationally benchmarked, meaning that they compare well internationally with other successful education systems outside of the United States. They will help create the student that we will need in the future. The standards focus much more on application of new skills. Allowing students to apply what they know to various situations in college and in their career.”

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