COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // JUNE 2, 2016
News You Can Use:
New York Releasing More Common Core Test Questions, Answers / Glens Falls Post-Star
On Wednesday the New York Department of Education released 75 percent of the questions from assessments aligned to the state’s Common Core Standards, which were administered in April for grades 3-8. That’s up from 50 percent of questions last year, and officials pledged more information moving forward. The test items can be found at EngageNY.org. “I heard from many educators that the earlier they receive the data, the better,” state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “That’s why we moved up the release timeline.” High-quality assessments provide teachers and parents with information to support students’ learning needs, and by making that data available sooner states better ensure students get and stay on a path of college- and career-readiness.
Correcting the Record:
Gates Foundation Failures Show Philanthropists Shouldn’t Be Setting America’s Public School Agenda / Los Angeles Times
An open letter by Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman, which acknowledges missteps in the implementation of Common Core State Standards, is evidence that “policymakers shouldn’t be allowing [philanthropists] to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools,” the Los Angeles Times editorial board argues. “The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies.” In fact, Common Core State Standards were developed by educators and experts across the country, and states voluntarily adopted the standards. Here is where the Times gets it wrong:
Common Core State Standards Were Developed by Local Experts and Educators, and States Continue to Lead Implementation
The acknowledgement missteps were made in the implementation of Common Core State Standards, made in an open letter from Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman, is evidence that “policymakers shouldn’t be allowing [philanthropists] to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools,” the Los Angeles Times editorial board argues.
“The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies,” the editorial opines.
Supporters of the Common Core—teachers, parents and policymakers who recognize the need for rigorous, consistent learning goals—are the first to point out that the standards are not a silver bullet. But they are helping students from all backgrounds achieve to higher levels by setting clear, challenging expectations—and with great success.
A report by Achieve this year found more than half of states significantly narrowed their “Honesty Gaps” by implementing rigorous education standards and high-quality assessments. As Karen Nussle wrote last fall, that means parents and teachers are finally getting accurate information about how well their kids are really progressing towards becoming college- and career-ready.
A Harvard study came to the same conclusion. “The last two years have witnessed the largest jump in state standards since they were established as part of the federal accountability program…In short, the Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”
“[States] should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” explains Sandra Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”
And to be sure, states are leading implementation of the Common Core. This year no states have passed full-scale repeal, marking the second consecutive year in which policymakers have refused to replace the standards from whole cloth. Instead, states overwhelmingly are making adjustments and building on the Common Core—exactly as the standards were designed.
“States have weighed the evidence and opted to build on the framework set by these rigorous, comparable education standards,” Jim Cowen, director of the Collaborative for Student Success, wrote last month.
On Our Reading List:
North Carolina Education Board, Legislators Collide over Math / Raleigh News & Observer
The North Carolina Board of Education is expected to vote today on changes to three core high school math courses, which are meant to clarify and reorder topics but do not go as far as undoing integrated math courses. That decision is likely to put the Board at odds with some lawmakers, who want to go back to teaching Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II in high school. Many teachers say they prefer the integrated approach, which better prepares students to solve real-world problems. A Senate committee considered a bill Wednesday that would require the state to return to the previous sequencing in 2017.