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Aug 5, 2013 8:12 PM by Erika Flores

First year schools launch state-mandated 'Common Core' standards

MARANA-New state mandates will be required for schools to implement the common core standards and stricter teacher evaluations.

Common core standards require more critical thinking and are described as more rigorous than previous standards.

It was adopted by the Arizona Board of State Education in 2010.

The purpose is to help students become more college ready.

Districts are also required to implement stricter teacher evaluations that will determine a teacher's pay and contract.

Marana High School tells News 4 Tucson they started training their teachers on common core standards two years ago and gradually implemented the standards in classrooms, but one teacher of 18 years said there is a lot of frustration that go into implementing those standards and the teacher evaluations.

With the old standards, students were allowed to answer more multiple choice questions.

"They'll read the story and say, ‘oh well this is what happened,' but if you ask them why that is what's the challenge," Nicole Pearce.

This year Pearce an English teacher said she'll incorporate a lot more literary analysis to comply with the common core standards.

"What I'm really hoping is that I'm able to help my students transition from the old standards to the common core standards because they are very different," said Pearce.

Arizona also requires all schools to implement stricter teacher evaluations.

"I'm more than happy to open up my classroom and someone to give me that feedback to make me a better teacher, but don't tell me that my job relies on it," said Pearce.

Evaluations account for no less than 33 percent of a teacher performance pay.

The higher performing teachers could be offered a multi-year contract and the lowest could be dismissed.

"It depends on how many areas they're struggling in. If it's several they can go into an intervention period, so teachers do get the opportunity to get better," said Allison Murphy, principal of Marana High School. "We don't just say 'you're out. You didn't do this.'"

But Pearce said it's unfair for the state to mandate changes without giving more resources to districts for the changes.

"(For example,) Textbooks...My textbooks I believe are 2005. It is now 2013, and we have new standards," said Pearce.

For more information on common core standards click here:
http://www.azed.gov/azcommoncore/

For more information on teacher evaluations click here:
http://www.arizonaea.org/home/319.htm

For more information on Marana High School click here:
http://www.maranausd.org/index.aspx?NID=2867

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