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Common Core School Standards Criticized

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A fierce debate continues in Oklahoma classrooms surrounding the new academic standards called Common Core.

Currently, 45 states including Oklahoma have adopted the Common Core standards.

The new way of learning will be fully implemented by the 2014-2015 school year.

Common Core affects english and math courses, K-12.

State officials say the curriculum develops problem-solving skills.

Joel Robison, Chief of Staff for the State Department of Education, says students will be writing a lot more on essay questions to explain how they came to an answer.

But one grandparent, whose grandchild is in first grade, worries that in the effort to teach critical thinking, teachers will end up discouraging students.

"If a child comes to them and says 'I don't understand this, can you help me?' (teachers) are supposed to say 'figure it out on your own'," Karen Yates said.

Robison disagrees, and said teachers will continue to be engaged in helping students learn.

"Teachers should allow students to have the ability for trial and error to see what they can find on their own before they necessarily show them the answer," Robison said.

Common Core will also require students to read technical materials, not just fiction.

Robison said it's up to each district and each teacher to determine how they incorporate technical and fictional reading in the classroom.