When you were in kindergarten, could you ask and answer questions about a reading selection? Could you identify characters, the story’s setting and the main events? Could you retell the story in detail?
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, kindergartners will be expected to learn these concepts, according to what is known as California Common Core Standards.
Lodi Unified School District trustees learned more on Tuesday about what the complex set of state public school standards will entail. School officials also don’t know how much it will cost to carry out the new state mandate, though Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Legislature to allocate $1 billion to public school districts.
California has seen a surge in revenues of $4.5 billion more than expected this year, and by law, much of that money must go to education, according to the Associated Press.
The so-called Common Core Standards are considered more rigorous academically and are intended to better prepare students for college and work, the AP reported. The money amounts to about $170 per student, which can be spent as districts choose on teacher training, instructional materials, technology and other uses.
The standards encompass the entire K-12 curriculum.
Under the standards, students will learn keyboarding, because tests will be administered online, Lodi Unified Curriculum Director Lisa Kotowski told the school board Tuesday.
Trustee Ruth Davis said she objects to plans to equip each student with a computer on which they can take the tests.
“I’d rather see class-size reduction than everyone having a computer,” Davis said.
Davis also said that district administrators should be more cautious in the planning stages because, as a former teacher in Lodi Unified, the district traditionally jumps into new programs without assessing them to see how students will adapt.
Linda Gooden, who is active with Lodi’s Tea Party Patriots chapter, said the Common Core Standards will be exceedingly expensive to carry out.
“I don’t trust our government,” Gooden told the board. “There will be a $1.6 billion to $2.7 billion cost to California. Where are we going to get this money? Are we going to print it?”
Board member George Neely said that Lodi Unified and other school districts don’t have any discretion when it comes to Common Core Standards.
“The state has made that decision for us,” Neely said. “It’s a state mandate. We are going to do it.”
Fifth-grade teacher Sue Kenmotsu said she’s excited that the standards will give her fewer specific items to address in the classroom. It looks like district administrators have done an excellent job in planning the new curriculum, Kenmotsu said.
Board President Ralph Womack and trustee Bonnie Cassel were among the Lodi Unified board members to support the curriculum change.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.