COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MAY 25, 2016

News You Can Use:

Survey Shows Leadership Effect on Common Core / Phys.org
A national study by researchers at the University of Arkansas finds educators are more likely to feel positive about Common Core State Standards when school leaders are open and active in the implementation process. “The idea that common standards meant common teaching, we thought, was wrong,” says Jason Endacott, the team’s lead researcher. “If administrators really want teachers to buy into and have positive perceptions, they need to maintain openness in the process.” Many states and groups supporting them have redoubled implementation efforts, refining and building on the Common Core. Last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “Under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons.”


 

Correcting the Record:

The Common Core Journalism Blackout / New Boston Post
Sandra Stotsky claims the media ignores criticisms made against the Common Core State Standards because of a perception such concerns come only from “wing-nuts concerned about ‘federal overreach.’” “In effect, [the Education Writers Association] has found a subtle way to blacklist writers who might write critically about Common Core’s standards and tests,” Stotsky alleges. The piece argues assessments aligned to the Common Core do not reflect the skills or knowledge needed for college or the workforce, use content that is not support by research, and encourage teaching to the test. Contrary to Stotsky’s claims, wildly untrue attacks on the Common Core have often obstructed honest debate, and evidence indicates associated assessments are providing parents and teachers with accurate information. Here is where Stotsky gets it wrong:

Is the Media Really Blacklisting Common Core Opponents?

Writing in the New Boston Post, Sandra Stotsky claims the media ignores criticisms made against the Common Core State Standards because of a perception those concerns come from “wing-nuts concerned about ‘federal overreach.’”

“In effect, [the Education Writers Association] has found a subtle way to blacklist writers who might write critically about Common Core’s standards and tests,” Stotsky alleges.

It’s difficult to argue the media has shown a bias towards opponents of the Common Core. Wild accusations, from the idea that the standards aim to turn kids gay to that they are a tool to indoctrinate students into Islam, have regularly populated headlines, including major news outlets.

Such claims have obstructed the honest debate Stotsky purports to defend. Former U.S. 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.”

There are legitimate concerns about the implementation of rigorous, consistent education standards and high-quality assessments. Unfortunately, those have often fallen to the wayside amid opponents’ misinformation campaigns.

Last year Karen Nussle identified a real reason criticisms of the Common Core have failed to take hold. “Public policymakers intent on repealing Common Core invariably are confronted with the reality that the public fundamentally supports higher standards.”

Nussle adds, “Opponents of Common Core pushed for repeal of the standards without offering an alternative set of academic standards that will adequately prepare kids for success after high school.”

Stotsky argues assessments aligned to the Common Core do not reflect the skills or knowledge needed for college or the workforce, use content that is not support by research, and encourage teaching to the test. But evidence runs counter to such claims.

An analysis by Achieve this year found 26 states significantly closed their “Honesty Gap” by implementing high standards and high-quality assessments. “[States] should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” said Sandra Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”


 

On Our Reading List:

Deadline Looms for ISTEP Panel to Design New Test / State Impact Indiana
The committee created by Indiana lawmakers to rewrite the state’s standardized assessments met for the first time Tuesday. The 23-member committee is required to submit recommendations by December 1, which are intended to help lawmakers approve a new exam, which could be built for Indiana or be an “off-the-shelf” model used by other states. The new assessment will go into effect in the spring of 2018. “There’s probably a pretty good chance that we will extend the [current] contract with Pearson for another year or two,” said state Rep. Bob Behning, explaining the proposed timeline may be too short to develop the framework for a new exam.

Oklahoma House Votes to Abolish High Schools’ End-of-Instruction Testing / The Oklahoman
The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 95-1 Monday to approve a bill that would abolish end-of-instruction assessments required for high school graduates. “This is important because it shifts the focus off of testing and places it back where it belongs, on learning and instruction time,” said state superintendent Joy Hofmeister. The legislation, HB 3218, must still be approved by the state Senate and signed by the Governor before it could become law. The bill would authorize the state Board of Education to create new graduation requirements in place of the exams.
Leaked Questions Rekindle Debate over Common Core Tests / New York Times
PARCC officials have taken action to protect the integrity of the test’s content after questions were leaked on the Internet. “Fair testing cannot exist if test questions are publicly available before the tests are administered,” explained Heather Reams, director of communications for PARCC. Calling PARCC exams “exceptionally high quality, Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said it is costly to come up with new test items.