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New education standards have turned back-to-school into a battlefield
Bettye Farrow-Williams leaned back in a worn metal desk chair, laced her fuchsia fingernails into a prayer-like pose and declared that the world had lost its mind. “Everybody is in a panic,” she said on a recent Thursday morning at H.W. Byers High School in rural Holly Springs, Miss., where she has spent the past 49 years teaching social studies. Farrow-Williams was talking not just about her colleagues at Byers but also about the thousands of teachers, students, administrators and parents across Mississippi who are finding themselves at the center of an increasingly pitched battle over a set of new education standards known as Common Core.
The standards were designed by state officials as a way to make sure that …