As I Understand the Pennsylvania Core Standards, Carolyn Dumaresq, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, has effectively put forth Governor Corbett's position regarding the Pennsylvania Core Standards. Taking the best elements from the National Common Core Standards and taking the best elements of the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and Assessments, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has blended a combination of these standards into a set framework for Pennsylvania public schools to use to assess what students should be taught. These standards will be known as the Pennsylvania Core Standards.
To quote the Sept. 12 news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Education: "the board amended the regulations to include language that the academic standards and Keystone Exams apply only to public schools; the department shall not require schools to use a statewide curriculum or statewide reading lists; national assessments will not be administered to students; and the department will not expand its collection of student and personal family data.
Nowhere have I read that our Pennsylvania school districts must follow a set curriculum promulgated by either the State of Pennsylvania or the Federal Government. What I do understand is that the Pennsylvania Core Standards provides an assessment tool for the school districts to use in order to identify which teachers are teaching the necessary skills/knowledge for the students at the students' grade level. All Pennsylvania students must have these skills and knowledge in order to compete at the post-secondary level, the workforce and the military.
Bottom line: The school districts set their curriculum. The school board directors hire the superintendents who, in turn, hire the teachers. If you believe that your student(s) is not receiving rigorous academic courses in your school district, then it is time for those school board directors to be evaluated. The taxpayers and parents of students in their respective school districts should elect school board directors who will put students first and who will ensure that those academic standards are Pennsylvania specific and appropriate for their students.
Janet Ingalls VanDine
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom