COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // FEBRUARY 15, 2016

News You Can Use:

School Policies Have Gotten Smarter in the Decade after ‘No Child Left Behind’ | Washington Post
While No Child Left Behind succeeded in prioritizing clear academic expectations, the resulting standards were “mostly vague, shoddy or misguided;” tests set the bar for proficiency too low, and accountability systems “encouraged all manner of dubious practices,” write Mike Petrilli and Chester Finn of the Fordham Institute. “But thanks to the hard work and political courage of states…the core elements of standards-based reform have seen a reasonably thorough and dramatic upgrade.” Like Chester and Petrilli, Louisiana State Superintendent John White explains, “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline…That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

Mucking Up Education | The Register-Herald
West Virginia lawmakers’ effort to replace the state’s Common Core Standards through HB 4014 is a step backwards, the editorial board writes. “Three different sets of standards in three successive school years. Getting dizzy? Think of the teachers. Better yet, think of the kids… Our students need to engage in a rigorous course of study where answers don’t come easily…That’s at the heart of Common Core.” A follow-up to the Honesty Gap report finds most states, including West Virginia, have begun to provide teachers and parents with more accurate information about student readiness by implementing rigorous academic expectations and high-quality assessments.

Superintendents Would Not Repeal School Standards | Decatur Daily News
Given the choice, Alabama superintendents say they would not replace the state’s College and Career Ready Standards, which are based on the Common Core. “To try to create your own curriculum and align it with state testing would be challenging and expensive,” says Decatur City Schools Superintendent Ed Nichols. “The new standards are tough. We’re going to get where we need to be.” “We’ve got all this time and money invested in preparing teachers to teach the new standards,” adds Morgan County Superintendent Bill Hopkins. “What will we teach if they are replaced?” A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes lawmakers should consider Oklahoma’s example, which has set schools on a path of “disruption, uncertainty and internal turmoil” by choosing to replace its Common Core State Standards.


Correcting the Record:

Make the Right Call on New State Tests | Gloucester Times
As Massachusetts prepares to select a vendor to develop its MCAS 2.0 tests, officials should be vigilant to “ensure the integrity and fairness of the bidding process,” writes Gregory Sullivan, research director at the Pioneer Institute. Sullivan suggests State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester has been partial to PARCC assessments, which Sullivan says, along with Common Core State Standards, have caused “academic deterioration.” Contrary to Sullivan’s claims, several studies show PARCC assessments more accurately measure student development, giving parents and educators honest information. Here is where he gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/massachusetts-parcc-assessments-have-caused-academic-deterioration/


On Our Reading List:

Attorney General Jeff Landry Agrees to Drop Common Core Lawsuit | Times Picayune
After a week of public fighting with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Attorney General Jeff Landry agreed last week to dismiss the state’s Common Core lawsuit against the federal government. The case was initiated by former Gov. Bobby Jindal. “My decision today comes after a thorough in-house examination of the pleadings, the district court judgment, and the new directives from Congress,” Landry said Thursday in a statement. In 2014, a Louisiana judge stated that another of Gov. Jindal’s lawsuits had done “irreparable harm” to the state’s students.

The Biggest Regret from a 41-Year Career in Education Reporting | Washington Post
In a reflective interview, NPR and PBS NewsHour journalist John Merrow offers his views on the state of education. “I think we’ll see Common Core will remain embedded in the states, even if under different names in different states,” Merrow says. “The opt-out movement is significant. It’s not going to go away unless national and state leaders change their approach.” Asked about a motto for schools, he adds, “We need a system that asks each child, ‘How are you intelligent?’ not ‘How intelligent are you?’”