COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // OCTOBER 27, 2015

NOTE: Tomorrow’s Daily Update will be a special National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) only edition including news, important statements from our friends, and social media recommendations. Keep an eye out!

News You Can Use:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Public Weighs In On Common Core Replacement Standards”: Following legislation passed last year in Missouri, eight working groups have begun meeting, gathering recommendations to present to the State Board of Education to help craft improvements to the current standards. Lisa Meredith, Parkway School District’s assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and accountability, “is concerned that some recommendations for Common Core replacement standards are not quite up to snuff. There are instances where the recommendations are less rigorous than current standards or do not align properly with higher level courses,” she said.

What It Means: As Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli wrote recently, “It’s impossible to draft standards that prepare students for college and career readiness and that look nothing like the Common Core.” By setting high, clear learning goals and giving local educators control of how to reach them, the Common Core ensures more students will graduate high school fully prepared for college or a career. Additionally, states leading implementation, like Tennessee and Kentucky, have achieved some of the biggest academic gains in the country. Backing away from rigorous learning standards now would be a mistake that would negatively affect the preparedness of an entire generation of Missourian students.

Business Insider, “The Common Core math quiz that has everyone outraged isn’t about Common Core — it’s worse”: A third grade math quiz went viral last week and prompted outrage over the way a teacher graded a student’s answer to the math problem “5x3.” “This example, along with so many other viral math problems that baffle students and parents (like this subtraction problem or this check mocking a first-grade counting exercise), is being used as an example of Common Core math being unduly confusing or frustrating. While this worksheet does present a frustrating situation, it has nothing to do with Common Core,” states Business Insider. Common Core outlines a set of learning objectives for students by grade level. However, curriculum and lesson planning around achieving those objectives is handled by individual states, districts, and teachers.

What It Means: Common Core, voluntarily adopted by states, merely sets the goals for students while curriculums remain locally controlled. Confusing homework assignments happened before Common Core, and happen in states that use different standards. It is important to remember that there is absolutely nothing in the Common Core that says 5+5+5 does not equal 15. Math is still math and correct calculations don’t change with different standards. The difference is that Common Core State Standards focus on helping students better grasp the mechanics behind numbers and functions through multiple approaches, in addition to traditional algorithms and memorization. Common Core State Standards prepare students for higher level content and to apply their learning. An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success explains,“It is important for kids to learn multiple approaches to solving math problems…so that they develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move onto more challenging levels.”


Correcting the Record:

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, “Common Core Is Worsening NY Schools, Voters Say”: Based on a recent poll conducted in New York, some voters are concerned with the effect that Common Core Standards are having on schools. “Looking forward, a small plurality of voters, 34 percent, say Common Core standards will worsen public education in the long run, compared to 30 percent who say they will improve education and 20 percent who say they will have little impact,” Siena poll spokesman Steven Greenberg said in a statement.”

Where They Went Wrong: As we have seen from the large academic improvements made by early adopters of Common Core standards, rigorous education benchmarks are working to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for students to succeed at high levels of learning and to close state’s Honesty Gaps. While attacks on Common Core have created confusion, recent polling confirms that the public continues to strongly support high academic expectations and increased accountability, exactly the principles that the Common Core is built on.

ABC 15 Phoenix, “Arizona Board of Education Votes to Reject Common Core Standards”: The Arizona Board of Education has voted to reject Common Core, but for the time being leave its standards in place. Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas motioned for the vote that resulted in a 6-2 outcome from the Board on Monday morning. Eliminating Common Core is part of her education plan that she unveiled earlier this month. Board member Reginald Ballantyne, opposing the measure, said, “Clearly I am going to vote no. I’m just really getting weary of this conversation which really has no effect on what we are trying to do without children, or on our educators or on our parents. I don’t think this is philosophical, I think this is political, I’m growing tired of this nonsense.”

Where They Went Wrong: The vote by the Arizona Board of Education is largely symbolic and does not change the current status of education standards in the state. The current standards, the AZ College and Career Ready Standards (which are virtually identical to Common Core State Standards), remain in place as the state continues an ongoing review process. Teachers and students in Arizona should not be confused by misleading headlines. As Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli wrote recently, “It’s impossible to draft standards that prepare students for college and career readiness and that look nothing like the Common Core.” By setting high, clear learning goals and giving local educators control of how to reach them, the Common Core ensures more students will graduate high school fully prepared for college or a career.


On Our Reading List:

Politico, Tisch Departure Prompts Speculation About Future Policy”: In the wake of New York Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch’s announcement that she will not be seeking reelection, some Common Core supporters are concerned with maintaining her legacy of education reform and high standards. Tisch, who was appointed to the board in April of 1996, has been chancellor since 2009, and has been a strong champion of Common Core State Standards and increased academic expectations in her time in office. “It would be tragic to walk away from the standards, to walk away from accountability, to walk away from professional development that has meaning and rigor and to walk away from evaluation. That would be really not great for the state,” Tisch said.

The New Orleans Advocate, “Our Views: The recent elections showed that the complaints about Common Core failed to resonate with state-wide voters”: Louisiana BESE elections held over the weekend solidified that the state is largely in favor of maintaining Common Core State Standards. Despite predictions over the past several months from critics that moving forward with CCSS would provoke an outcry of anti-Common Core sentiment, voters loudly and clearly indicated that they have confidence in the Standards. The piece states, “We think that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is in good hands, after similar election results that advanced reforms in 2011. Three incumbents from that race were re-elected and three newcomers are generally aligned with the push to overhaul public schools.”