COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // FEBRUARY 25, 2016

News You Can Use:

High education standards and the US military | The Hill
Rigorous, consistent education standards are especially important for the United States, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter says that of the 21 million Americans aged 17 to 21, “we estimate that only about half are able to meet our high-quality standards on our entry exam – only about half.” In order to ensure a large pool of capable recruits, Marcus Lingenfelter and the Collaborative’s Jim Cowen write that “states must provide teachers and students with challenging standards — whether those standards be the Common Core State Standards or other state-authored standards designed to promote college readiness and prepare students for advanced coursework, especially in math, science.” Likewise, a Stimson Center report last year found that high, consistent education standards could affect the Army’s realignment decisions, because military members consider access to high-quality education when determining whether to continue their service.

Opt-Out Policies for Student Participation in Standardized Assessments | National Association of Secondary School Principals
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) released a statement on Wednesday declaring that it opposes “state and district policies that allow parents to opt their children out of standardized assessments.” NASSP also reaffirmed their “long-standing position in support of national standards that will ensure students are college and career ready upon graduation” and reiterated their “vision of high-quality, next generation assessments to improve teaching and learning.” High-quality assessments are one of the best tools teachers and parents have to measure student readiness and as Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote last fall, “[Tests like Smarter Balanced] may not be perfect, but they are finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing.”

Don’t Lower the Bar | Baltimore Sun
The Maryland State Board of Education is in the midst of a decision over whether to lower the score needed to pass new Common Core-aligned assessments or even to offer a second-tier diploma to students who have completed all required courses, but aren’t passing the exam. As the Baltimore Sun correctly explains, “creating a system of two-tiered diplomas would be a mistake, and so would permanently lowering the bar.” While the period of transition to more rigorous standards and high quality assessments may be challenging, states need to stay the course to help students graduate from high school college and career ready. In a memo last fall, Karen Nussle explains, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do in college or a career…For parents and educators, that should come as welcome change.”

Do Delaware teachers really love Common Core? | Newsworks
A 2015 study conducted by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education asked: “What do teachers, principals and administrators think of the Common Core State Standards and how they’ve been rolled out?” The results were overwhelmingly positive, with 73% of teachers saying that they have embraced the new standards “quite a bit” or “fully” and 69% of principals stating that they believe that the new standards will lead to improved student learning. Thomas Kane, one of the report’s authors and the faculty director of Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, stated that there was a “political weight attached to the Common Core,” but following the passing of ESSA, “the Common Core State Standards are just state standards again.” Karen Nussle echoes this sentiment in a recent memo, explaining that the ESSA “forever ends what has long been an Achilles Heel of Common Core: federal entanglement through Race to the Top and secretarial waivers in state decisions surrounding the adoption of standards and the selection of aligned assessments.”


Correcting the Record:

Another Common Core disaster: Corporate-education reformer John King is exactly the wrong man to be secretary of education | Salon
Ahead of Thursday’s Secretary of Education confirmation hearing for Acting Secretary John King, Nikhil Goyal wrote that King has been one of the “most influential and loathed figures of the corporate school-reform movement in recent years” and proposed that the committee “reject his nomination and call on President Obama to nominate a serious candidate who supports equitable, progressive public education for all.” Goyal goes on to state that King “oversaw the rocky implementation of the Common Core standards” and “acted more like a tyrant, persistently refusing to consider the desperate pleas of students and teachers who were reporting that the Common Core and value-added teacher evaluations were not working and detrimental to robust teaching and learning.” Here’s where he gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/fact-checking-salon-common-core/

Drop Common Core, Keep AP Classes | The Topeka Capital-Journal
A recent blog post in the Topeka Capital-Journal accuses the Common Core State Standards of being “not good at all,” arguing that the goal is to monopolize “who sells the textbooks and who administers the standardized testing.” The blog goes on to state that “standardized testing breeds stagnation, it kills creativity, and it leads towards authoritarianism.” Here where the blog gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/kansas-common-core-assessments-textbooks-teachers/


On Our Reading List:

From Arne Duncan on Down: 22 Critical Education Questions For the Presidential Candidates | The Seventy Four
With the Presidential Election heating up, The Seventy Four spoke with education experts about what issues the candidates should be discussing. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered: “What are the candidates willing to do to invest in, and take to scale, the best evidence-based ideas that come not from Washington, D.C., but from local communities and educators?”

Surprise move: Bill to cut Louisiana public school aid $44M clears panel, could pose big problems for ACT, Common Core exams | The Advocate
In an unexpected turn of events, Louisiana “state aid for public schools would be chopped $44 million by June 30 under a bill approved Wednesday in the powerful House Appropriations Committee.” Author Will Sentell notes that cuts would “cripple the state’s ability to give ACT college readiness exams in March or this year’s version of the Common Core tests” and “trim basic aid to 69 public schools that educators rely on for a wide range of operations.”