Worthington News

Worthington schools: Common Core

District leaders try to ease parents' concerns about privacy


Objectionable assigned books, student privacy and a general lack of trust of government seemed to be the concerns of Worthington Tea Party members as they discussed the new Common Core standards during a meeting Aug. 28.

About 30 people met to listen to Worthington school officials explain the newly adopted state standards and local curriculum at a meeting at the Worthington Municipal Building.

Worthington City Schools Superintendent Thomas Tucker, academic-achievement director Jennifer Wene and curriculum leaders in language arts, math and social studies presented detailed descriptions of new standards that were written to align the local curriculum with new state assessments that will begin next year.

Wene said the new curriculum is "fewer, clearer and higher," is aligned with college and work expectations, is internationally benchmarked, includes 21st-century skills and is evidence- and/or research-based.

Worthington Tea Party president Jeremy Anderson opened the question-and-answer period with objections of some local parents to the book, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.

The book includes "graphic descriptions that are sexual in nature," he said.

The book is on the Common Core reading list, he said.

No book is recommended in Worthington because it is on a Common Core list, Tucker said.

The process of deciding which reading materials would be recommended includes parents, students and teachers, and that has not changed, school officials said.

Anderson said he was not in favor of "blacklisting" books.

He then asked what kind of personal information was being collected about students. A frequent complaint about Common Core is that it would jeopardize the privacy of students, providing information about them to the government and to businesses.

Common Core does not require any additional data to be collected or shared, Tucker said.

Wene said she made a phone call to the person in charge of new student assessment at the state level to find out if any changes were to be made in the personal information to be shared because of Common Core. No additional information will be shared, she said.

"We're also concerned about teacher and student privacy rights," Tucker said.

Ohio is one of 45 states that have adopted the Common Core standards. Worthington's curriculum has been changed to align with the new state assessments that will begin next year, but it remains Worthington's curriculum, written for the district, district leaders said.

"Worthington has one of the best curriculums around," Tucker said.

An unidentified woman in the crowd said the "devil is in the details" of Common Core.

"I mistrust the government that has a bias, that has an agenda," she said.