State board of education repeals Common Core standards

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia is replacing K-12 math and English educational standards based on Common Core with new learning requirements.

The West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday approved the new standards and repealed the K-12 Next Generation Standards for math and English, the West Virginia Department of Education said in a news release.

The new standards, which will be effective July 1, 2016, include handwriting instruction in grades K-4, and the expectation for students to learn multiplication tables by the end of third grade.

Board members also voted to eliminate social studies testing in all grades, along with science testing in grades three, five, seven, eight, nine and 11. Also eliminated were requirements to administer the ACT Explore, Plan and Compass assessments.

The Department of Education said the testing changes will significantly decrease the amount of formal testing.

Both changes, which were recommended by state schools Superintendent Michael Martirano, came after months of community feedback and findings from West Virginia University, and pressure from Republican lawmakers to nix the standards based on Common Core.

"I believe this process was transparent and I am proud of the work that has been done to develop a set of revised standards that are unique to West Virginia and developed with the input of our state residents and education experts," Board of Education President Mike Green said in the release. "These proposed new standards not only increase rigor and ensure developmental appropriateness, but also provide a foundation to ensure our students are equipped with the skills needed for college, careers and the 21st century world of work."

Green encouraged the public to provide input on all education issues in the state.

West Virginia was among 45 states that adopted the Common Core standards. Lawmakers in Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina repealed the standards in 2014. In New York, a task force assembled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended last week that the state overhaul and rename the standards amid public backlash about testing.

Common Core was developed by governors and state school officials from both parties, and President Barack Obama's administration backed the standards and developed incentives. They spell out what reading, math and critical thinking skills students should grasp, while leaving how those skills are learned to school districts and states.

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