At last week’s regular School Board meeting a concerned mom and parent posed three questions to the Board. The mom was Mrs. Mary Margaret Farris, who is actively involved with helping her daughter cope with the new “Common Core” curriculum, testing, and teaching systems which are now in use in elementary schools in Jackson County.
Her first question dealt with the “Common Core” curriculum content and what options or choices of textbooks and subjects were left for local school systems to pick from. School Board staff responded by relating how some choices are available at the local level, but that a designated core of subject material must be covered.
The second question related to the new practice which is named “Cold Read”, in which the student reads a document and then must answer a set of questions relating to what was read. These questions test reading comprehension, and often go beyond that by including questions which are related to the document which was read but require using deductive reasoning to answer. Mrs. Farris asked how it was fair for the questions to involve information which involved facts and data which the student had not been exposed to and thus had no basis for answering the question. The Board staff responded that she was correct, and areas had been found where questions were posed when no supporting information had been covered. “We are working actively to correct these areas,” they stated.
The last question related to when the new Florida Tests would be put into use as a replacement for the Federal tests now used. She was told that the new tests would take effect during the 2014-2015 school year.
Board Chairman Chris Johnson commended Mrs. Farris for her involvement in her daughter’s education. “We appreciate your input, and would welcome more parents to become involved in a similar manner,” he stated.