COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MAY 19, 2016

News You Can Use:

Teachers Innovate Where Candidates Don’t / Huffington Post
“The implementation of the Common Core has extended an invitation to educators…to raise the bar within their classrooms and engage students at a higher level,” writes Anne Eden, a high school teacher in Colorado. Educators need continued support in order to develop curricula and materials aligned to the standards, and many political candidates have failed to offer. Last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “Under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states.”

When Reformers Get Disruptive / The Gadfly Blog
Education reformers can improve classroom learning through “disruptive innovations” that target students, parents and teachers, writes Mike Petrilli, including empowering those groups with information. “To take one example: Common Core-aligned exams are finally delivering honest (if often sobering) news to kids about whether they’re on track for college and career.” Most states have begun to provide parents and teachers with better information about student readiness by implementing high-quality assessments aligned to rigorous learning goals. “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests,” Petrilli wrote last fall in USA Today.


 

Correcting the Record:

Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You!
The Progressive
“PARCC’s attack on citizen journalists and public school advocates,” a claim made following the consortium’s response to criticisms that may have disclosed copyrighted material from the assessment, exposes the dangers of “the corporatization of public education,” alleges blogger Jonathan Pelto. The entry quotes a fellow blogger, saying, “Test manufacturers are more worried about their proprietary money-making property than they are about making a good test or providing real test results.” In fact, high-quality assessments, like PARCC, measure the skills students need to become college and career ready better than former “bubble tests.” Test-makers must protect the integrity of material to ensure the assessments can’t be gamed, but allegations they require mass collection of student data is false. Here is where Pelto gets it wrong:

Correcting the Record: High-Quality Assessments Aren’t Data-Collection Instruments or the ‘Corporatization’ of Education

“PARCC’s attack on citizen journalists and public school advocates,” a claim made following the consortium’s response to criticisms that disclosed copyrighted material, exposes the dangers of “the corporatization of public education,” alleges blogger Jonathan Pelto.

The entry quotes a fellow blogger, saying, “Test manufacturers are more worried about their proprietary money-making property than they are about making a good test or providing real test results.”

However, contrary to Pelto’s and other’s claims, high-quality assessments provide parents and teachers with one of the best tools to measure student development towards college- and career-readiness. They are not, as the piece suggests, designed for profiteering at the expense of students or teachers.

Testing policies—including decisions about which assessments to use—are set by state and local officials. Many students voluntarily chose to use consortia exams (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) because they do a good job of measuring the core skills students need to graduate high school prepared for college and careers, and because they allow states to compare how well their schools are doing to others across the country.

By implementing high-quality assessments, whether PARCC, Smarter Balanced or other exams aligned to rigorous education standards, most states have begun to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information. An analysis by Achieve this year found 26 states significantly closed their “Honesty Gaps”.

Similarly, a Harvard University study concludes, “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 have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline,” Louisiana state superintendent John White said last fall. “That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

It’s important to note, contrary to the claim made by Pelto, Common Core State Standards say nothing about what student information states should collect or how to collect it. If a state were to repeal the Common Core tomorrow, there would be no change to its schools’ data-privacy requirements.

“Four federal laws prohibit the creation of a federal database with students’ personally identifiable information,” Washington State attorney general Rob McKenna wrote last year. “Common Core State Standards keep control where it belongs: at the state and local level.”


 

On Our Reading List:

Biggest Transitions Facing States for ESSA Accountability Flagged in New Report
Education Week
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Every Student Succeeds Act is how much states will have to change their accountability systems in order to comply with the law. A new report by the Center for American Progress released today identifies the “vast majority of states will have a lot of work to do” to meet requirements. The study recommends several steps states can take, including: setting a vision for accountability systems and being purposeful about incentives when selecting system indicators; weighing the trade-off between simplicity and complexity to create a tailored system of accountability; and increasing transparency and clarity of school accountability and rating methodology.

After Education Law’s Bipartisan Passage, Battle Lines Form Anew
US News & World Report
Following bipartisan support for the Every Student Succeed Act, debate has ignited over implementation of the law, particularly regarding “supplement-not-supplant” issues governing how schools use Title I funding. Officials with the U.S. Department of Education hold that Title I funds should be used to ensure low-income schools receive more money than affluent schools, while Republican leaders say federal authorities should have less control of how states allocate money. Because the negotiated rule-making committee did not reach an agreement about the proposal, the Education Department is responsible for drafting the final governance. “There is no question this regulation would violate both the letter and intent of the law, and it must be abandoned,” Rep. John Kline said recently.