Ohio chamber supports education standards

As noted by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce website, last week, Dan Navin, assistant vice president for tax and economic policy at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, took an important stand on the side of Common Core Standards. Along with the U.S. Chamber and many other businesses, organizations and owners, the Ohio Chamber believes learning standards prepare Ohio students for their futures in college and their careers. Consequently this helps employers fill vacant positions with highly qualified employees. Ohio’s new learning standards do not take away curriculum planning from local school districts, but rather sets guidelines to help ensure that all Ohio’s students receive quality education. Please read in part the following article by Navin, printed with his permission:

– Ohio has had statewide learning standards in mathematics and English Language Arts in the past, but these standards were not rigorous and not aligned with the demands of college and the workplace. The outcome was low academic expectations which resulted in too many students not being college ready and thus a short supply of graduates with the basic abilities needed for success in the workplace, including critical thinking and problem solving skills.

With the intent of reversing the trend of mediocrity, Ohio passed House Bill 1, which directed the State Board of Education to revise and issue new academic standards in the core areas of math, English language arts, science and social studies.

The math and English language arts standards, also known as the Common Core Standards, were developed collaboratively by state education leaders, governors, teachers and education experts from 45 states, including Ohio (NOT by the federal government). Then, after 18 public review meetings across the state and presentations to the education committees of both the Ohio House and Senate, the State Board of Education adopted Ohio’s new learning standards on June 2, 2010.

The process of implementing these new, more challenging learning standards by many Ohio school districts began the following school year and has continued through the 2013-14 academic year. To be clear, these new standards do not mandate, stipulate or presume to tell Ohio teachers how to teach. Local school districts and teachers remain the decision makers – again, not the federal government, regarding the curriculum, textbooks and instructional materials that will help students learn best.

As a statewide business organization representing Ohio employers competing in a highly competitive and global economy, we know that one of their most important concerns is to have qualified, competent and highly skilled employees. Building a college and career ready Ohio starts with higher, yet achievable, standards. The Common Core State Standards do this.

Turning back the clock – i.e. rejecting or delaying implementation of Ohio’s new learning standards – would only hurt students and disrupt Ohio’s schools, which have been implementing the new standards for the past four years. We need to look no further than Oklahoma to see how rejecting the standards would weaken our ability to ensure that Ohio’s students are prepared to compete with their peers across the country and around the world.

While we acknowledge that there are many other important steps in preparing Ohio’s students for the future, Ohio’s new learning standards are the foundation for student success, providing the academic baseline to succeed in college, career and life. –

Representative Andy Thompson is sponsoring House Bill 237. If passed, it would eliminate the Common Core Standards that have been put in place in Ohio. If Navin’s article makes sense and you agree with the U.S. Chamber, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations, please let your voice be heard as this bill will be voted on in early September. Thank you.

Dee Arnold lives in Marietta.