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In Response To Pressure, Manchester Votes To Strengthen Common Core Standards

Sam Evans-Brown

  The Manchester School Board has voted to modify a new set of state-wide education standards to make them more rigorous.

The vote was in response to pressure from critics of the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted in 45 states.

The Manchester School District will create something called the “Manchester Academic Standards.” However, the Common Core standards will still form the foundation for the district’s new goalposts.

“We did not per say, reject the Common Core, but with one exception last night everybody voted to agree that there may be areas where the Common Core need amplification,” says Sarah Ambrogi the chair of the city’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee, “but that’s going to be the basis on which we move forward.”

Earlier in the same day the state’s largest business group announced its support of the standards, calling them “clear and concise” and “an important part of ensuring our future workforce.”

The envisioned standards come in response to consistent pressure this summer form the conservative group Cornerstone Action. They say the standards are mediocre in some areas and not developmentally appropriate in others.

The Common Core was adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010, and schools are transitioning to them this year. The first standardized test based on the Common Core, called the Smarter Balanced test, will be given in the spring of 2015.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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