Common Core program causes controversy

By Gregory Woods

CHARLESTON, S. C. (WCIV) -- A national program to standardize education has made its way to South Carolina this year.

The Common Core standards set what students should know at each grade level to ensure every student is ready for college or a career after graduation.

Dan Douglass has a child in second grade. He said he believes the program puts everyone in a box.


"We want to maintain control of our children's education," he said. "I think we'd come up with a better product if we had more customization and more input from local people about what our kids need to learn."

South Carolina adopted the program in 2010 and began implementing this school year.

Even thought the design of the Common Core standards aims to make sure every child is learning on one accord, Douglass said that approach isn't logical.

"It kind of treats each student not as individuals, but more as a collective where each student cannot develop themselves individually," he said.

Lisa Herring, Chief Academic Officer of Charleston County School District, said that is not the case.

"If you have an 8th grade student who is ready for geometry or for mathematical concepts that far exceed what might currently be outlined for an 8th grader in 'Common Core,' we are able to meet that student's need in a different format," she said.

Herring said Common Core is less about traditional test taking and more about comprehension.

"To be able to discern the difference between writing where we currently assess students given a prompt versus a child who reads two passages and they have to do more critical thinking. Or perhaps it's argumentative writing or persuasive writing those are things that will be different in assessment," she said.

These are the things Herring said will prepare students for a global economy.