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Board takes a new route

April 15, 2014

Germantown — Purpose before process. That is what several members of the Germantown School Board are hoping to accomplish as they continue work on the development of the Germantown Model of Standards for Academic Achievement.

In December, the board became the first district in the state to unanimously agree to formally choose to create its own version of Common Core State Standards, a decision that has been met with mixed reviews from residents.

"I feel what the board is calling progress is setting the district back 15 years," said parent Debra Blodgett. "Why spend extra money just to say we're not doing Common Core?"

At a travel cost of less than $700, board member Brian Medved said the board's decision to bring Dr. Sandra Stotsky to speak at an April 9 workshop was a frugal one.

"She is credited with creating the best standards in the country," he said of Stotsky, who is a professor of educational reform at the University of Arkansas. "That's why we brought her here. And as far as the costs go, we are going to build (the new standards) into our normal teacher and learning development."

Medved defended the board's decision to divert from the Common Core standards, which were adopted by the state in 2010.

"This board is very fiscally conservative," he said. "We are not looking to waste money to create standards. I think what we are doing here as a committee is ... opening up a dialogue. We want to open it up to the teachers and bring in experts to help us develop the best standards out there."

An ad hoc Standards Development committee has been formed to work through what Medved said will be an ongoing discussion.

"Recently (the district) has been too hung up on the process and totally forgotten the purpose," said board member Bruce Warnimont. "That's what is going to set us apart is establishing and driving home our purpose."

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