COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // APRIL 4, 2016

News You Can Use:

What Oklahoma Can Teach America about Politicizing Education | Daily Caller
Evidence from the only states to repeal and replace their Common Core State Standards—Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina—affirms it is impossible to produce high-quality education standards that bear no resemblance to the Common Core, Karen Nussle writes. Analysis by Achieve finds Oklahoma’s new learning goals developed to replace the Common Core “will disadvantage Oklahoma students compared to their peers in other states.” Using those finds alongside criticism from state leaders and national experts, a white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success concludes, “Rather than seeking to appease misinformed, politically-charged opponents, policymakers would be better served by using the Common Core as a framework to build upon.”

Despite Protests on State Testing, Some New York City Parents Are Happy to Opt In | New York Times
Even in the face of opt-out campaigns, many New York parents are eager to have their children participate in statewide student assessments. In Manhattan’s Public School 124, no parents have opted their kids out of tests, nor do they “consider test preparation anathema.” “If [my daughter] does well, then I’m happy. If she doesn’t’ do well, I know where she is,” explains one father. Last fall Karen Nussle wrote, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career… For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.” Likewise, Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute explains, “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or associated tests.”

Al Sharpton Supports Common Core Testing in Schools | New York Post
Reverend Al Sharpton said Saturday he fully supports student assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards and dismissed opt-out efforts as a “controversy raised by some upstate.” “Why are we seeing students in some areas more able in math and English and reading and not in other areas?” We need to be able to measure that and we need to be real clear about the educational inequality,” Rev. Sharpton said. Many national civil rights organizations have criticized opt-out campaigns. “Mass opt-out comes at a real cost to the goals of educational equity and individual student achievement while leaving the question of assessment quality unanswered,” wrote Shannon Sevier, vice president of the National PTA, in February.

Governor Tomblin Vetoes Common Core Bill | The Dominion Post
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill Friday that would have prohibited the State Board of Education from implementing Smarter Balanced student assessments. Because the state’s legislative session has ended, lawmakers will not have an opportunity to override the veto. “We need to be cautious not to undermine stability for our teachers or the children they educate,” Gov. Tomblin said. The Register Herald editorial board said Gov. Tomblin’s veto was the right move for students and teachers. “While the rest of the country was moving ahead in building educational models for the future, our schools…would have been forced to run backwards.”

Literacy Is Not Just Reading | Asheville Citizen-Times
Common Core State Standards’ emphasis on critical thinking and fluency skills is helping students build knowledge in content areas, writes Susanna Barbee, a North Carolina mother. Barbee says there are many ways parents can reinforce this learning and support teachers, including encouraging children to write, engaging kids in stimulating conversation, and building their own vocabulary. Jason Zimba, one of the lead writers of the Common Core math standards, says parents can absolutely support their kids’ learning. “When it comes to skills, practice is essential. It helps students to have someone to flash the cards or pose calculations to them.”


Correcting the Record:

Diane Ravitch: Why All Parents Should Opt Their Kids Out of High-Stakes Standardized Tests | Washington Post
In a video by the Network for Public Education, Diane Ravitch, an outspoken critic of Common Core State Standards, erroneously claims student assessments provide “no useful information” about student development. “Opt out is the only way you have to tell policymakers that they’re heading in the wrong direction,” Ravitch alleges. “The testing is not beneficial.” Ravitch’s claims ignore the value of high-quality assessments to help ensure students are on track to graduate high school prepared for college and careers, and to empower teachers and parents to get students the support they need. Here is where Ravitch gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/the-value-of-assessments-why-opting-out-isnt-the-answer/


On Our Reading List:

Time for Trump to Get Honest with His Coalition of Fear. It’s Not Walls They Need, but Better Schools | The Seventy-Four
Because many parents are worried their children face a bleaker future than they did, presidential candidates like Donald Trump should talk seriously about the value of high education standards and high-quality assessments instead of attacking the Common Core, writes Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Doing so would “convert feat into hope.” “In fact, Common Core is not a federal government initiative” as some candidates allege, Haynes notes. “Let’s be clear: the slow and winding road to ‘Make America Great Again’ goes right through public school classrooms.”

New Common Core Tests Arrive for Ohio Students | WKYC NBC Cleveland
Ohio schools will begin administering statewide assessments developed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) today. The AIR tests will be the third time in as many years Ohio students will face a different standardized test after policymakers decided last year to remove Ohio from the PARCC testing consortium. Schools will administer the exams through May 13, and districts have flexibility within that window over when to give the tests. “This is strictly and empirically an Ohio-grown test and endeavor,” said Jim Wright, director of curriculum and assessment for Ohio.

Is the PARCC Exam Mandatory of Not? | Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico State Senator Howie Morales has asked State Attorney General Hector Balderas to clarify whether PARCC assessments are mandatory for New Mexico students. “I want to make sure that there is clarification, especially for parents who may be confused about whether they have options or not,” Sen. Morales said. Policies governing participation in statewide assessments “seem very different from one school district to another,” the article notes. “Parents deserve to know whether their child is struggling, and our schools use the information to give those students the help they need to get back on track in the classroom,” said a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Education.

Michigan Diocese Shifts to Classical Curriculum, Avoids Common Core | Catholic Education Daily
Concerned that public school academic standards neglect the moral tenets of Catholic education, the Diocese of Marquette in Michigan has implemented a classical, liberal arts curriculum in place of the Common Core State Standards for all its schools. “Our schools had been teaching from a mixture of state standards and their own local efforts to integrate the faith into daily lesson plans,” says Mark Salisbury, the diocese’s superintendent. “It seemed like the right time to begin afresh and work to build a more comprehensively Catholic curriculum.” Bishop John Doerfler acknowledged “there is a base of adequate secular material in the Common Core State Standards that faith-based schools could reference as part of their educational programming.”