Common Core debate draws massive crowd at Rock Hill hall

Posted February 25, 2014 1:41 am | Filed under Featured, Local News

DSC_3469-001Andrew Kiel |
While the future of the Common Core education standards in South Carolina may be in limbo, there is no shortage of parents, educators and concerned constituents wanting to hear more about it.

Hundreds of people turned out Monday for what ended up being a standing-room-only crowd at the Magnolia Room in Rock Hill for a debate on the standards, first adopted in South Carolina in 2010.

Today, Common Core remains integrated in most classrooms in South Carolina, said Dr. Sheila Quinn, assistant superintendent for curriculum and administrative services in the Clover School District.

Quinn and Judy Mobley, a former principal at Rock Hill High School and now director of secondary education at the Rock Hill School District, led a presentation supporting the measure.

Sheri Few, one of now ten candidates for S.C. Superintendent of Education and president of S.C. Parents Involved in Education, led efforts opposing the measure.

In a February 17 press conference in Rock Hill, Few categorized the standards as “faulty”in Math and English and are “inappropriate” for students in Kindergarten through third grade.

“It’s causing anxiety and depression,” Few said, referring to what she says are developmentally-inappropriate standards for young children.

But Quinn and Mobley, both longtime educators in York County, disagree.

“I’m 100 percent for it,” Mobley said. “Common Core is a set of standards, benchmarks and goals to reach toward. The school district still makes all the decisions.”

Quinn, whose 6,000-student district is about a quarter the size of Rock Hill School District Three, said the standards work for districts of every shape and size.

“What we might read and study to master a certain standard might be different in Clover than it would be in Texas, Maine or Rock Hill,” Quinn said. “That’s the beauty of the standards — it still allows the flexibility.”

In Columbia, lawmakers are expected to further debate the merits of the Common Core standards enacted by the S.C. Department of Education. South Carolina is one of 45 states who use the standards developed under the U.S. Department of Education.

“They’re the ones that decide on what’s implemented, what’s not,” said State Rep. Ralph Norman of Rock Hill. “But laws are passed every day to give the power back to the general assembly.”