COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MAY 2, 2016

News You Can Use:

School Board Should Get Smarter about New Education Standards / Seattle Times
High-quality assessments like Smarter Balanced are an important tool for teachers and parents to gauge whether students are prepared for college and careers, the editorial board writes. “This isn’t just about money…For the first time, Washington will soon have data to compare how its students are performing with other participating states. Measuring academic progress ensures that limited funding is targeted to struggling students while they are still in school.” Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote in USA Today, “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.”

Starting Monday, Let Common Core in Louisiana Roll on / New Orleans Advocate
Louisiana students are experiencing “an overall calmer environment this year” as they begin assessments aligned to the state’s Common Core Standards. “We are delighted that the agitation against Common Core is not motivating parents to pull their children from the tests,” the editorial board writes. “Let Common Core roll on. It’s a path toward progress, not an underhanded scheme.” Like the editorial, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote last year, “Lies, myths, exaggerations and hysteria about what the Common Core means and does have dominated the ‘debate’ and the real issues have been obscured.”

Montana Right to Stick with Rigorous Testing / Billings Gazette
Montana lawmakers deserve credit for their commitment to Smarter Balanced tests and not “walking away when the political waters rose,” write Mike Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. A two-year study by their organization found high-quality assessments like Smarter Balanced outperform previous state tests and do a good job of measuring students’ understanding of core skills. As the authors have written before, states like Montana should “stay in the saddle” by continuing to implement rigorous education standards and high-quality assessments.

High School Degree Doesn’t Mean Grads Are College-Ready / San Diego Union Tribune
The latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show many students that graduate high school are underprepared for college or a career. The NAEP results show only 37 percent of high school seniors are college-ready in math and reading. The results reinforce the need for rigorous academic standards aligned to college- and career-readiness. Remedial coursework—not-for-credit classes to teach students material that should have been mastered in high school—costs students and families nearly $1.5 billion, NPR reported last month. Forty-five percent of students who place into remediation come from middle- and high-income families.

States Created Common Core, Not Federal Government / Ventura County Star
Claims that the Common Core State Standards are the work of the federal government and forced on states misconstrue the standards, writes Michael Cosenza, an associate professor at California Lutheran University. Common Core “was never a federal initiative.” Instead, the standards ensure students “are ready by the end of high school to begin a career or attend college.” Common Core State Standards were developed by educators and experts from across the country, absent federal involvement. Multiple studies show since implementing the standards states have begun to raise proficiency targets, providing parents and teachers with accurate information about student readiness.


 

Correcting the Record:

In a ‘Farce,’ Missouri Replaces Common Core with Common Core
New American
Missouri’s development of new education standards to “replace” the Common Core was a “farce” and a “half-baked effort to placate an outraged citizenry,” the article states. “The dumbed-down, Obama-backed national ‘education’ standards were preserved largely intact, just under a new name…For the sake of American children and the future of the nation, it is past time to step completely out of the dumbed-down ‘education’ system being imposed from Washington, D.C.” As a white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success points out, it is impossible to create standards that fully prepare students for college and careers and that look nothing like the Common Core. Moreover, the article mischaracterizes the Common Core as a federal takeover of local education. Here is where the New American gets it wrong:

Missouri’s New Education Standards Refine and Build on the Common Core Framework

Missouri’s development of new education standards to “replace” the Common Core was a “farce” and a “half-baked effort to placate an outraged citizenry,” the New American claims. “The dumbed-down, Obama-backed national ‘education’ standards were preserved largely intact, just under a new name…For the sake of American children and the future of the nation, it is past time to step completely out of the dumbed-down ‘education’ system being imposed from Washington, D.C.”

The article claims, as many opponents have disingenuously done, that Common Core State Standards were forced on states by the federal government. In fact, the standards were developed by educators and experts from 49 states and territories. Once completed, 45 states voluntarily adopted the standards.

Adoption of college- and career-ready education standards accounted for less than 10 percent of states’ applications for Race to the Top funds—what the article mischaracterizes as “bribe money.” Nearly half of states adopted and continue to implement the Common Core despite never receiving Race to the Top funds, and several states have dropped out of the testing consortia and have retained Race to the Top funding.

The New American is right that Missouri kept intact much of the Common Core State Standards. That because, as Karen Nussle and Mike Petrilli have pointed out before, it is impossible to create college- and career-ready education standards that also bear no resemblance to the Common Core. A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes every state that has pursued the ill-advised repeal-and-replace path has ended up with standards that are nearly identical or inferior to the Common Core.

“Replacing the Common Core State Standards invariably leads to either modest adjustments and renaming—effectively “rebranding” the Common Core (as in both Indiana and South Carolina)—or, academic standards that are inferior to the Common Core (as in Oklahoma)… Meanwhile, most states’ commitment to rigorous college- and career-ready expectations through the Common Core is having a demonstrable lift on schools.”


 

On Our Reading List:

Idaho Considers Changes to School Content Standards / Twin Falls Times-News
Last week the Idaho Department of Education concluded a public comment period, in which individuals could submit feedback about what is working well and what should be changed within the state’s education standards. The Department held six public hearings last month. The public input period was part of a regular review conducted every six years. The extent of revisions may vary, but “a lot of times, there are some minor tweaks that are done,” said Jeff Church, a spokesperson for the Department of Education.

Georgia Testing Trips over Technology Troubles / Atlanta Journal Constitution
Georgia Milestone mishaps on End-of-Grade testing could mean that for the second year in a row most of the test results won’t count. Students faced connectivity issues that caused many to restart the exams. A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Education said officials will ask the state Board of Education to waive the promotion retention rule so the results would not be a deciding factor in whether students move on to the next grade. Districts experience technical problems have been given extra time to finish testing. Last year’s results weren’t counted toward grade advancement because it was the first administration of the exam.