After rolling out a four-phase, early-childhood education plan, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur addressed what she called the state's "sloppy transition" to the Common Core this year.
The Montgomery County delegate called the new standards, which overhauled curricula throughout the state this school year, "a step in the right direction," but said she had concerns about how it's been implemented.
The state has grappled with how to transition to the new curriculum while also complying with outdated mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
"We would push for a different approach," Mizeur said. "Even if it requires a federal lawsuit."
Education leaders across Maryland state have expressed frustration that students are learning a new curriculum this year, but will be assessed with old standardized tests when the state administers the Maryland School Assessments next spring. State education officials said they are only giving the tests, a $6 million expense, to comply with the federal law.
In Baltimore County, teachers have run into a myriad of problems --from accessing new teaching material to racing against deadlines to get curricula written in time -- and county leaders have compared its transition to the Common Core to "building the plane as we fly it."
Education leaders have also expressed concern that districts are not equipped with the proper technology and infrastructure needed to implement the new, online assessments, called PARCC, that will align with the Common Core standards, and are scheduled to be fully implemented next school year.
A Baltimore City teacher who attended Mizeur's education plan announcement said teachers in the city are just as frustrated.
"At a classroom level, it means a lack of clarity for students," said Cristina Duncan Evans, a teacher at the Baltimore School for the Arts. "Everyone needs clear guidelines to do their best. That's what I expect in my classroom, and that's what I expect from our leadership."
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