News You Can Use:

Seven Reasons Parents Should Opt-In to State Tests This Spring / Medium
Annual student assessments “provide valuable information about whether students are on track to meet grade-level expectations” and allow parents to compare how their children and schools are doing. The article provides several reasons why families should “opt in” to assessments, including: knowing whether their child is on track; closing the achievement gap; comparability across states and districts; the ability to advocate for one’s school; effective use of resources; ensuring college and career readiness; and the ability to build on what’s working. To help families advocate for better assessments, the Center for American progress, along with several partners, released the “Testing Bill of Rights,” that provides a roadmap to help communities push for high-quality exams.


Military Families Need High, Consistent Education Standards / Fox News
Military families, which move on average six to nine times during a child’s K-12 career, need rigorous, consistent education standards to ensure their kids have access to a quality education, writes former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. “If moving was not bad enough, military families know the quality of the public schools surrounding our bases is extremely uneven… The Common Core lays out a path that ensures students gain the knowledge and educational skills necessary to succeed in college, career and life.” Last month Christi Ham, head of Military Families for High Standards, wrote, “We need to know that when our children attend a public school near our new home, they will receive a high-quality education. This can be accomplished with a series of high, consistent standards.”

A Hidden Benefit to Common Core US News & World Report
High rates of college remediation, and the financial burden that accompanies them, is a pervasive problem, writes Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum. “The most effective way to improve achievement is to utilize educational standards…[Common Core State Standards] have been shown to be more rigorous and effective.” An American Action Forum study finds that had average NAEP math scores been 10 percent higher in 2003, 14.6 million more adults would have graduated high school and 10.3 million more would have obtained a bachelor’s degree. High standards, Holtz-Eakin adds, should be a “pocketbook issue” for families.


Correcting the Record:

Common Core Losing Steam? Michigan Could Become Next State to Kill Effort / Christian Post
Legislation introduced in the Michigan state legislature that seeks to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards was considered by the state Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The language within the bill claims to “protect state and local control of public education” by preventing schools from using any “national or multistate consortium standards” or assessments. The article cites two reports that question whether Common Core State Standards will raise classroom expectations. But evidence shows most states have already heightened proficiency targets, and most states continue to build on the Common Core framework. Here is where the Christian Post  gets it wrong:

Michigan Risks Taking a Step Backward Even While Most States Make Progress with the Common Core

On Tuesday, Michigan lawmakers considered legislation that seeks to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards. The language within the bill claims to “protect state and local control of public education” by preventing schools from using any “national or multistate consortium standards” or assessments. The Christian Post suggests the legislation is an indication Common Core State Standards are “losing steam.”

Yet, contrary to the article’s implication that Common Core State Standards will fail to improve student outcomes, evidence overwhelmingly indicates states are already seeing gains. An analysis by Achieve this year found 26 states significantly closed their “honesty gaps” by implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments.

Similarly, a Harvard University study concludes that most states have raised their proficiency benchmarks through the Common Core. “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.”


On Our Reading List:

TNReady Tests Once Again Delayed
WBIR NBC Knoxville
Some schools across Tennessee do not have the materials to take TNReady tests. The assessments were supposed to be administered electronically in February, but technical problems forced state leaders to reschedule the tests and administer them by pen and paper. Officials announced they will not reschedule exams this year for districts that are unable to administer the assessments by May 10. On Monday, Hank Scherich, president of Measurement Inc., the developer of the test, said the company could not guarantee all students in Tennessee will receive the assessments, the Associated Press reported.