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Debate On Common Core Standards Continues

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The debate over common core standards, or new teaching standards in South Dakota continues. The standards have already been implemented in the state, but it's become a hot topic once again after a state representative announced he's putting his political ambitions aside to focus on the issue.

Along with 45 other states, South Dakota adopted something called Common Core Standards in 2010. The standards are intended to make sure students nationwide are learning the same skills in the same grade levels K thru 12. But some argue that joining a nation-wide effort isn't the best way to go.

"I am always suspicious of any effort to be causing local people to lose control of their local schools," said  District 16 South Dakota State Representative Jim Bolin.
From the very beginning has opposed the idea, District 16 Representative Jim Bolin is so opposed to the idea that he decided to cut his campaign for Commissioner of School and Public Lands short. He's even introduced bills in the legislature, trying to limit the growth of the standards in our state. A retired teacher himself, he has his reservations about a nation-wide program taking away local control, restricting how we run and teach in our schools.

"I want us to sit down and evaluate this and accept this whole thing without really knowing its impact on students and student achievements," said Bolin.

Bolin says adapting a system without knowing its results is not the best step. South Dakota has already implemented the standards in the public school systems, but the first tests to evaluate how the standards are actually working will take place in the spring of next year.

“This program has not been piloted in any state in the union, it's like 45 states are all deciding to adopt this all at once without real fundamental test," said Bolin.

Lennox School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Mayor agrees that there hasn't been much testing, but like with other standards in the past, those in charge are trying to make a positive change.

"I don't know if they will be successful, we haven't had a chance to really evaluate them, but they are an attempt to try to make things better," said Lennox School District Superintendent Robert Mayor.

With 40 years of experience in education, he says he's seen different standards come and go. They haven't all been successful, but he's hoping this one will have a different outcome.

"It's to improve what students needs to know for success for them in the future. That's what we hope we can get in the common core," said Mayor.

The standards are developed by the National Govenors Association and Chief State Education Offices. The state has since spent as much as $6.5 Million dollars training teachers on the standards.

Bolin announced Thursday that he’s stopping his campaign for South Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands to spend more time helping opposition against Common Core Standards.

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