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North Dakota preparing to write new state education standards

FARGO - North Dakota is beginning the process of rewriting its version of the Common Core state standards, but it won't be a start-from-scratch revision, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said Wednesday, May 18.

North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler holds a press conference Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at Fargo South High School. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler holds a press conference Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at Fargo South High School. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO – North Dakota is beginning the process of rewriting its version of the Common Core state standards, but it won't be a start-from-scratch revision, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said Wednesday, May 18.

In a meeting with The Forum's Editorial Board, Baesler said she wanted to reassure educators that "these six years that you have spent ... is not a waste," in developing and training to teach the standards now in place.

"Teachers put a lot of time, effort and sweat equity" into developing the standards, Baesler said.

They viewed the pushback against Common Core "as another whipsaw of education" based on a political stance, she said.

The old federal No Child Left Behind law "had good points" in terms of collecting data, "but turned schools into factories" with a heavy emphasis on math, English and science test results and graduation rates, Baesler said. The new Every Student Succeeds Act allows states to develop other plans to assess student progress, she said.

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She said the state is now "tasked with the great opportunity and the great responsibility of creating an accountability plan that is our own."

Baesler said a committee will write the state's accountability plan and should wrap up its work by December. The plan "would be the operating umbrella" for the state's schools to have their quality measured starting July 1, 2017.

Baesler said applications are also being taken to be on the writing committees for the periodic updates to the state's math and English standards. Members will be teachers with experience ranging from pre-kindergarten education through the university level.

The application deadline is June 1. There will be 35 people on each committee. Meetings will start this summer and should be completed in early 2017, Baesler said.

There will also be new standards review committees made up of seven members each from the business and industry community, elected leaders, and the general public, she said. Applications for those committees are due June 13.

Application information for the committees can be obtained online at www.nd.gov/dpi and clicking on the news link.

Once the new standards are approved, bids will be sought from firms to provide a test aligned to the new standards, Baesler said.

Baesler's stop in Fargo was the sixth of 11 stops at schools around the state to get input from teachers, administrators and lawmakers on state education standards and other issues.

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She met with about 60 educators at Fargo's South High School Wednesday afternoon.

Related Topics: KIRSTEN BAESLEREDUCATION
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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