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Teachers on learning end of Common Core standards





Some area teachers spent the last two days on the other side of the desk learning more about Common Core standards in the classroom.

The Kansas standards were the focus of this year's Kansas State Department of Education summer academy at Fort Hays State University.

The six academies, which take place every summer across the state, "help the field (of teachers) understand what's going on at the state level," said David Barnes, KSDE math and science education consultant.

Teachers attending can use the credit for professional learning advancement, said Germaine Taggart, professor and chairwoman of FHSU teacher education.

Hays is one of six locations for the academies this summer. The other locations vary, but "Hays is really a good site for us," Barnes said.

This year, participants can choose from 12 workshops focusing on specific content areas or ways to integrate all of the standards.

Common Core standards have been under fire, both in Kansas and nationally.

Most of the criticism aimed at Common Core standards is really about teacher accountability measures or evaluation measures, large scale assessment policy and accountability policy, Barnes said.

"I work primarily with the standards, and the standards are not those other things," he said. "The standards are just simply what kids need to be able to do. We'll have standards whether they're common core or something else. ... The standards are good for kids. They're a step in the right direction."

Teachers can use a number of curriculum materials and instructional approaches.

"There is plenty of room within these standards for local control," Barnes said.

"That's the importance of these academies -- that you're giving teachers some of these strategies and tools so that they can go to the classroom and make those decisions," Taggart said.