Common Core Comes to MACo Summer Conference

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Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Education Association addresses the audience at MACo’s education session, with Delegate John Bohanan of St. Mary’s County and Council President Craig Rice of Montgomery County.

The State’s education leadership shared their insight and perspective into Maryland’s implementation of the Common Core Standards at MACo’s Summer Conference. The Common Core Standards aim to ensure all students are ready for success after high school, by establishing clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Standards mark a departure from the content of what our children learn and a new approach to how they will learn it.

State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery, started off the discussion by sharing how the State’s educational system can be described as “great by choice” because of our continuous striving for high performance. She described how as part of our effort, we have updated our education performance testing several times since 1990, including the most recent move to the PARCC assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards.  Secretary Lowery shared the importance of stepping back from time-to-time to assess our curriculum and assessments to make sure that they are adequately preparing our students for a changing job market.

Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Education Association, stated that the new standards are important, but emphasized the time need to adjust to the change.  President Weller noted that the standards require development of new curriculum, and development of new curriculum takes time and accompanying professional development.  She described how MSEA is working with the State Board of Education, the Local Boards of Education, the Public School Superintendents to advance professional development and implementation strategies for Student Learning Objectives under curriculum developed for the Common Core Standards, through a grant MSEA received from the National Education Association.

Raymond Leone, President, Maryland PTA, shared how parent teacher associations make sure that there is a two-way conversation between parents and teachers, so that parents are aware of the transitions happening in our schools. Mr. Leone emphasized the need for the Common Core Standards and continuous improvement in preparation of our students for college and careers.  He asked County Leaders to help educate parents on the transition to Common Core.

Council President Craig Rice of Montgomery County and Delegate John Bohanan of St. Mary’s County moderated the session.  Council President Rice serves at the Chair of MACo’s Education Subcommittee and Delegate John Bohanan serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Education and Economic Development Subcommittee. Delegate Bohanan closed the session stating that the General Assembly anticipates continued involvement in education reform as legislation comes before them.