Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Anne Sharp on KZRG: I support Common Core
During an interview this morning on KZRG's Morning News Watch, Sharp praised Common Core, though she made it a point to follow the practice that has been used in recent R-8 Board meetings of referring to Common Core as Missouri Learning Standards.
"Missouri Learning Standards is something that will benefit our Joplin Schools," Sharp said, noting that Joplin, being in the far southwest corner of the state often receives children from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and it is a big help when they go from state to state and be learning the same things.
Sharp also said she had never heard anything specific from those who are opposed to Common Core.
"(The opponents) need to be more specific about what the issues are."
Sharp, her fellow board members, and members of the C. J. Huff Administration have been noticeably absent from Common Core informational meetings that have been held in Joplin. The administration, in fact, warned teachers not to attend. Specific objections to Common Core were presented then and have been widely publicized.
Toward the end of the interview, KZRG asked Sharp about the dangerously low fund balances that were mentioned in the recently issued state audit. "The reason the fund balance was so low was because of the natural disaster and our rebuilding projects," she said.
Sharp added that she did not expect the fund balance to remain low, though just as in her earlier interview with the Joplin Globe, the board president offered no ideas of how the balance would be brought up to 25 percent, as she and C. J. Huff have predicted.
KZRG also did not press Sharp on why millions in questionable spending decisions were made at a time when Sharp and Huff were predicting the low fund balance.
"The School Board and Central office put out statistics in 2011 that our fund balance would be going down to eight percent. 2016 will be the bottom out year,"
Sharp is the longest serving board member, having first been elected to the board in 2000. She said she initially ran for the school board because the district had been receiving "negative press," and that she thought at the time that Joplin schools were "a diamond in the rough.
"Our students are so awesome and our staff is wonderful," Sharp said. "We weren't getting the good news out there." She said it has become her mission "to tell people what Joplin Schools really are."
Asked to think of the board's greatest accomplishment, Sharp sounded as if she had been caught off guard by the question and after a long, uncomfortable pause, finally mentioned the improved graduation rates.
Sharp has her course mapped out for after the election and it includes "getting the word out that Joplin Schools is the place to be."
She also praised the current Huff Administration initiative of "self-regulated visual learning," in which students chart the course of their own education with teachers serving more in the role of facilitator than the ones who are providing the information.