COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // APRIL 28, 2016

News You Can Use:

Why Colorado’s Testing Opt-Out Movement Could Struggle to Build on 2015’s Big Numbers | Chalkbeat Colorado
Last year, more than 100,000 Colorado students opted out of state assessments. “This year, things are different.” As a result of compromise legislation last year, students will face fewer tests, which will also be shorter. “The political noise has quieted” around the issue of Common Core State Standards and associated assessments. At the same time, the opt-out movement remains and the motivation behind the effort is “diffuse,” with no clear-cut goal. Mike Petrilli wrote in USA Today last fall that parents should resist the “siren song” of opt-out proponents. “[These tests] may not be perfect, but they are finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing.”

Peisch Says Repealing Common Core a ‘Huge’ Mistake | Lowell Sun
Massachusetts State Representative Alice Peisch, chairwoman of the House Education Committee, says it would be a mistake to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards. “If that ballot question were to pass, that is six years of work that will be irrelevant,” Rep. Peisch told local school board members. “I think it would be a huge mistake for a ballot question to determine what students learn.” She added that state officials are developing new assessments aligned to the standards. Last fall, Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester reiterated the state’s support for the Common Core: “[The national media has] inaccurately described Massachusetts as ‘abandoning’ the Common Core and PARCC. We have not abandoned either one.”

Opt Out: An Examination of Issues | ETS Research
Although the media have portrayed the opt-out movement as an organic, grassroots effort, “the reality has turned out to be more complicated,” a paper by Randy Bennett concludes. “It matters because state assessments are the only comparable measures of performance at the building level,” an abstract notes. “Opt out can distort those results, preventing parents, educators, policymakers, and the public from understanding the extent to which schools are effectively educating all children.” This year a growing chorus of support responded to the opt-out movement, encouraging parents to instead “opt in” to high quality assessments.

 


 

Correcting the Record:

CORRECT THE RECORD:
Newest Test Scores Are Bad News for Centralized Education, Common Core | CATO at Liberty
A drop in the percentage of 12th grade students that are college and career ready on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is evidence Common Core State Standards are not working, argues Neal McCluskey. “Not only has there been no meaningful evidence of the Core’s effectiveness…These scores do undermine any proclamations of proven Core effectiveness.” McCluskey acknowledges changes in NAEP scores can’t be attributed to any one education policy, but he concludes “they sure don’t help the narrative that centralization, including the federally driven Core, has helped.” The piece is right that it’s too soon to determine the impact Common Core State Standards are having, but the suggestion they are ineffective is false. Here is where McCluskey gets it wrong:

States Are Still Adjusting to the Common Core, but Evidence Indicates They Are Improving Schools

A drop in the percentage of 12th grade students that are college and career ready on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is evidence Common Core State Standards are not working, Neal McCluskey argues on the CATO at Liberty blog. “Not only has there been no meaningful evidence of the Core’s effectiveness…These scores do undermine any proclamations of proven Core effectiveness.”

However, as McCluskey acknowledges, it’s impossible to attribute changes in NAEP scores to any one education policy, especially the Common Core—which most states only recently began fully teaching to.

Not surprisingly, McCluskey resuscitates a common, but disingenuous, criticism of the Common Core: that the standards are “federally driven.” Objective analysis has time and time again rejected claims that Common Core State Standards were developed by the federal government or forced on states.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports under the Common Core, “the curriculum and teaching methods are decided locally.” Likewise, US News & World Report points out, “School districts design the curricula, and teachers create their own methods for instruction, selecting the resources best tailored to their lessons.”

Late last year the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, which replaced No Child Left Behind. The new law guarantees states have full sovereignty over their education standards—further ensuring local school boards and educators have control over what is taught in their classrooms and how it’s taught.

Republican Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, called the law a “huge win for conservatives.” He added, “The federal government should not be able to tell states what standards they can or cannot adopt. If states want to use Common Core, it is not the place of the federal government to tell them they cannot do that.”


 

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Tennessee Terminates TNReady Contract, Suspends Test for Grades 3-8
Memphis Commercial Appeal
The Tennessee Department of Education will terminate its contract with Measurement Inc., the vendor of TNReady assessments, education commissioner Candice McQueen announced Wednesday. The move comes after technical problems first disrupted the test administration, and later when shipping problems left no district in the state with the full complement of testing books and answer sheets. Officials suspended tests for grades 3 through 8. Testing will proceed as planned for high school students.