Cumberland Times-News

September 4, 2013

We’re left out

Hold local forums on Common Core program

Cumberland Times-News

— As the Common Core State Standards for education are being implemented in Maryland public schools this fall, parents and students have many questions. We would like to see the Allegany and Garrett county school systems add their own public forums to the four that are already scheduled statewide.

The Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Parent-Teacher Association are co-sponsoring four forums, including one for Western Maryland. The forum for our region will be held Sept. 16 at South Hagerstown High School from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Other forums are set for Easton, Towson and Springdale.

Common Core, a federally-backed program, has been several years in the planning process and is now being taught in pilot classrooms. Beginning  in the 2014-15 school year, the curriculum will be taught in all schools.

The Common Core  is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.

According to the Allegany County public school system’s website, development of the Core Standards system has drawn on the expertise of more than 10,000 educators and other experts, and is internationally benchmarked.

Nearly 7,000 educators from across Maryland took part this summer in the state’s third and final round of Educator Effectiveness Academies, which have helped put a classroom focus the new standards. Teams from every Maryland school — including principals — were involved in this unique professional development effort.

Holding local forums in our two counties will increase public awareness of the new curriculum and make it more convenient — and more likely — for parents and the public to attend. Not many people are likely to drive to Hagerstown for an evening forum on the evening of a school day.

We urge the two local school boards to schedule their own public forums.