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C.O. parents voice Common Core concerns

By John Hendricks
Published On: Feb 25 2014 01:14:28 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 25 2014 04:29:59 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the rollout of new education standards known as Common Core.

BEND, Ore. -

Over the last few months, there has been a growing debate over a new education standard known as Common Core. It's a new testing standard that 45 states have signed onto, tied to "Race to the Top" funding, a program piloted by the Obama administration.

Some critics, however, say the Common Core standard is more than a more challenging test, and holds a hidden agenda.

"When it comes to messing with my kids, Mama Bear has the claws out, and I speak for a lot of moms," home school parent Yolanda Marrs said.

Marrs and her husband T.J. say this is not the right way to better educate the nation's youth.

"It's not like tests that we are used to that are just logical," T.J. Marrs said. "There actually is a message that you have to also get."

The couple, who home-school their kids, is concerned the standard is too high, but also that there may be a hidden agenda.

"Lenin said, 'Give me four years with a child and I'll give you a communist for life' -- we;'re starting to see signs of that, and you don't to look very for to see it," Marrs said.

He says sample questions have surfaced, one in particular that he pointed out was an English assignment. Students were asked to "make each sentence less wordy by replacing the underlined word with a possessive noun phrase."

"The President makes all the laws of the country and assures they are fair," Marrs read.

He says he understands what the students are supposed to be learning, but the factual error in the sentence is what has him frustrated.

"The answer is, 'He makes sure the laws are fair' - well, that's not true," Marrs said. "That's not the president's job."

"The focus for Common Core is much more on the application of those skills in kind of a real-world context," said Redmond School District Executive Director of Academic Programs Linda Seeberg.

Seeberg has been working to implement ways to prepare students for the new standard.

She says there are several misconceptions some parents have about Common Core.

"One of the things that is important to know is that Common Core doesn't dictate curriculum," Seeberg said. "Common Core is learning standards."

She added that students are expected to meet a higher test standard, but how they get there is up to each individual district.

Seeberg says the district is trying to focus more on how you get the answer, so it can be applied in real-life situations.

"At the end of the day. it needs to be correct," Seeberg said. "But there is more embedded in problem-solving than just the correct answer."

The Marrs family says they will continue to make sure their voices are heard. At the same time, school districts are preparing teachers and students for the first round of tests.

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