Common Core Decision Could Impact Federal Funding For Oklahoma

Friday, July 25th 2014, 8:51 pm
By: News 9

As the battle over academic standards for Oklahoma public schools continues, districts brace for major changes in funding.

Educators worry the repeal of Common Core without a rigorous replacement standard will lead to unintended federal oversight.

It all stems from the PASS standards that used to be in place.

The U.S. Department of Education said years ago PASS was not rigorous enough, citing in part, the high percentages of Oklahoma graduates needing remediation in college under PASS standards.

Oklahoma City Superintendent Rob Neu worries he's about to lose the flexibility on how to spend millions of dollars in the district as an unintended consequence of repealing Common Core.

“I don’t know why the legislature is putting us in this situation,” Neu said.

7/2/2014 Related Story: New OKCPS Superintendent Discusses Challenges For District

Out of $150 million in federal money for the state, Oklahoma City Public Schools gets around $19 million.

Rather than spending that money on programs throughout the district, federal oversight will require spending millions on outside tutors and professional development at certain sites.

“We’ve been able to provide some before and after school services, some Saturday school programming, some summer school programming, and by losing the flexibility, we may no longer be able to provide those essential services to our students,” Neu said.

Neu says repealing Common Core so quickly could also mean missing out on cutting edge classroom technology being developed across the country.

“They’re gearing their products towards Common Core, so an unintended consequence for Oklahoma and Oklahoma City is that these wonderful products may not fit our curriculum, and it’s something we need to be very, very wary of,” Neu said.

The U.S. Department of Education will make a decision next month to decide whether the state will have control over the funding or if it will go to the feds.