Education group unexpectedly announces its support for Common Core standards

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma is in the process of implementing Common Core academic standards, along with 44 other states.

Some teachers and parents have been very vocal against the move.

Now, the Oklahoma Parent Teacher Association is announcing its support for the higher standards.

Common Core affects English and math courses beginning in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

One goal is to develop problem-solving skills and showcase critical thinking abilities on  essay questions.

At the state Capitol on Thursday, the PTA says it supports the initiative because it sets higher goals but does not dictate how teachers should reach those goals.

Jeffery Corbett, president of the Oklahoma PTA, said, “If we do not challenge our students, we’re never going to achieve the greatness that we can.”

Paul Williams is a teacher at Tomilson Middle School in Lawton.

Williams said, “Common Core helps to set a level playing field for everybody, so that we’re all in seventh grade trying to hit this mark by the end of the year.”

The PTA says Common Core implementation needs increased funding as well.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education received a $74 million budget increase last year.

In her State of the State address, Gov. Fallin asked the legislature for a $50 million increase this year.