Friday, December 15, 2000

Educators like many of the report's ideas

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — Educators say there's a lot to like in Thursday's call for new statewide academic standards and curriculum guidelines, but they need more information.

        Anderson High School Principal Mike Hall favors the grade-by-grade academic standards, but hopes the state will fund programs to help students who need extra help to keep up.

        While the sweeping proposals released by Gov. Bob Taft left Maineville Elementary teacher Kathy Wilder with many questions, “one thing (with which) I am in total agreement is that early intervention is key.”

        After eight months of work, a panel of 33 educators, parents, business leaders and legislators released their recommendations to overhaul Ohio's educational system.

        Teachers and principals in the Tristate said Thursday they want to know when new standards will be developed by the state and how much time schools will have to align their curriculums to any new tests before they go into effect.

        They also want to know wheth er the state is going to pay for intervention requirements the state commission suggested.

        Anderson already has standards, Mr. Hall said, so teachers know what to teach. But he hopes the state will fund intervention programs, such as mandatory summer school for students who don't do well on the tests.

        In the 1999-2000 school year, Cincinnati Public Schools required summer school for those who failed state reading tests. After five weeks, more than 60 percent of the 2,466 students passed.

        Commission members say legislators will have to work out details, but some recommendations, such as course alignment, could take years to develop.

        Maineville Principal Melody Goodwin likes the idea of testing students annually to determine strengths and weaknesses.

        In fact, she would prefer a reading test in the second grade.

        Waiting until fourth grade is too late, she said.

        Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Rick Beck said the commission's call for teacher input in developing academic standards was key.

        “We should be the leaders in this,” he said.


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