Video: Common Core Debate Continues

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WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – The Common Core education standards have become a political football in Mississippi. And as the state leaders move away from the curriculum, it’s often caught teachers in the middle.

Common Core was developed by the nation’s governors and educators as a way to raise academic standards across the country. Mississippi adopted the program five years ago and began transitioning to a new curriculum. That meant new ways of teaching for many and new assessments for students who were first tested on the tougher standards last year.

“It brings a challenge to the classroom everyday. It’s not just let me teach you the ABC’s. Now, we have a lot of challenging things to teach here in Pre-K and I have to be willing to change everyday and adapt my curriculum and what I teach, the ways I teach,” said East Side Pre-K teacher, Lacie Pumphrey.

As teachers finally were getting comfortable with those adjustments,some are pushing the state to opt out, claiming the standards are a way for the federal government to take over local schools. Recently, Mississippi withdrew from one of the two federally funded Common Core tests as a step toward rewriting its own standards and curriculum. Many educators who are at the front line of making any program work say it’s a bad move.

“But I also think part of the reason everybody is wanting to just ditch it or get rid of it, is because of the rigor involved with Common Core and nobody wants rigor, everybody wants the easy way out,” added Pumphrey.

West Point School District Superintendent, Burnell McDonald, says parents and everyone else should want the high expectations demanded by Common Core.

“I think that’s something that we should see to course. If we want our students to be able to compete not only within local, nationally, we have to challenge our students,” said Superintendent Burnell McDonald.

But as the debate continues, teachers say they try to tune out the noise and confusion and focus on what they do best..teach.

“We have teachers who are committed to seeing boys and girls learn, so I know whatever comes next, we’re going to do our best to make sure our students are successful,” said McDonald.

State superintendent, Carey Wright, says eliminating Common Core could cause Mississippi to lose millions in federal dollars.

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