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Work Begins to Implement Common Core Education Standards in Arkansas

State lawmakers hear from educators across the country about how to accomplish the task.
CONWAY, AR - If you've noticed the homework your child brings home looks a little different than you remember growing up, you're not alone.

Arkansas is now one of more than 40 states working to implement Common Core in classrooms.

In Conway today, lawmakers heard first-hand from educators around the country on the best way to introduce Common Core.

The popular refrain today was if Arkansas students are to remain and become competitive for the jobs of tomorrow, they need stronger standards today.

A room full of educators and lawmakers know the work to prepare Arkansas students happens in the classroom.

"I think we'd owe an apology to our kids if we didn't try to raise the bar as high as possible and then go one notch higher," says Eddie Joe Williams, Cabot State Senator.

Williams is one of a handful of legislators who took part in a day-long education conference Wednesday, a large part focused on Common Core.

"Common Core, in my opinion, is guidance, it's framework," he says.

Kent McGuire, from the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, says Common Core, now in 44 states, gives teachers the ability to teach fewer topics, but go more in depth.

Lawmakers heard from several frustrated parents this summer, feeling Common Core was a top down approach handed down from Washington, D.C.

"I think it's a misconception that anyone is coming in and telling people what they need to do in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, or anywhere else," he says.

Arkansas adopted Common Core three years ago, and will likely begin testing on the standards in the near future. A future Williams feels is bright for Arkansas students.

"If the quality of the education is much better, I think we need to try it. What we've done for my 59 years has kept us at the bottom, so I'm ready for a change," he says.
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