Common Core Standards Daily Update // December 12, 2014

News You Can Use:

Times-Picayune: “A Strong Defense of Common Core in Louisiana”: The editorial board writes, “Forget the criticism of Common Core from Gov. Bobby Jindal and would-be governor David Vitter. They are trying to win political points for themselves. The dozens of Louisiana business, civic, and education leaders who reiterated their support Wednesday for the new academic standards are the ones who clearly understand what is best for students.” Nearly three dozen organizations representing a range of industries released a statement on Wednesday urging lawmakers to continue to support CCSS. “We stand firm in our support of Louisiana’s full implementation of the Common Core State Standards to better prepare our students for 21st century careers, college and a fulfilling life. While politics can clearly change, the higher expectations and stronger instruction occurring in our classrooms today must remain in place,” it read in part. “Thankfully, the business, civic and education leaders backing Common Core aren’t letting the governor or senator mischaracterize the standards,” the editorial notes. “The Common Core standards are not a federal mandate…it is Louisiana teachers and school administrators who decided how to implement them…While change is difficult, our children must be able to compete at a higher level than they have in the past.”

What It Means: Although challenging, CCSS help students achieve to higher levels of learning by evenly raising expectations for all students. As the editorial points out, CCSS ensure local schools and school boards retain control of education issues, and arguments to the contrary amount to little more than political posturing.



Bloomberg: “Joel Klein: Schools Must Change Faster, Become More Equitable”: In an interview with Bloomberg Politics, former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein says, “In education in America we have a crisis, and it’s a crisis that seems resistant to change.” “What amazes me is given how many kids are not performing at a level they need to compete in the 21st century, the unwillingness of school systems to realize it needs to change, and change dramatically,” Klein says. “Here we are, 60 years after Brown v. Board, and your zip code still by and large determines the quality of your education. That’s just wrong, and it’s got to change.” Asked whether Common Core has become a lightning rod, Klein says, “It’s astonishing to me…When I hear people talk about this, and say the Obama Administration supported Common Core, which they did, but the governors are the ones who adopted it…In almost every state Common Core ups the ante for kids. And kids need to ante up. To oppose it on quasi-political grounds makes no sense. I give credit to Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie and prominent Republicans who stand up to the political push back and put our kids first.”

What It Means: As Klein points out, prior to CCSS big disparities existed among states and even from district to district of what was expected of students. CCSS help ensure all students have a fair shot at a quality education by raising expectations for all students In states like Kentucky and Tennessee, which implemented the Standards early, student outcomes have shown some of the most remarkable gains in the country.



Huntsville Times: “Alabama Department of Education Releases Results of New Reading and Math Tests”: Yesterday the Alabama Department of Education released test results from the first exams aligned to the state’s college- and career-ready standards, which are based on CCSS. Fewer than half of 8th graders scored “ready” or “exceeding’ in reading, and only 29% reached the same levels in math. “This is truly a new baseline,” said state superintendent Tommy Brice. “It’s not something you can compare to our old assessment. This is not something you can’t take in any way other than saying, ‘This is where we are.’” The Aspire tests will be given to students in grades 3–8 each year, and 10th graders will begin taking the exams in 2016. “We have set our expectations too low for too long,” Bice added. He points out before the new tests, more than 90% of students passed the state graduation exam, yet one-third of Alabama students required remediation in college. “When the basketball goal is only five feet high, we can dunk all day long,” explained state school board member Mary Scott Hunter.

What It Means: As Bice points out, the new test scores in Alabama give an honest assessment of how well students are really doing and offer a necessary correction to systems that graduated students unprepared for college or a career. The tests are a new baseline, which accurately provides a fair snapshot of how well students are doing. With more accurate assessments, parents and teachers can better help students make improvements to complete high school ready to step into college-level work or a competitive career.



Connecticut Post: “Delay on Common Core Only Hurts Our Kids”: “Today’s public education shortfall is painfully evident in its outcomes,” writes Connecticut parent Dan Derose, urging parents and educators to continue to support high standards that will better prepare students for college and careers. “With Common Core, Americans are bringing innovation to a complex public school system,” Derose says. “We need to start now, and then learn what works and doesn’t work from our shared experience over time. Any delay implementing Common Core places our children’s and nation’s economic future at greater risk.” Much of the criticism directed at CCSS stem from confusion between standards and curriculum, Derose notes, adding CCSS were developed by state leaders for states. “Overhauling the nation’s public schools is a complex challenge, yet attainable,” the piece concludes. “I don’t want my kids to be in a state that delays, placing them at a disadvantage to students in a state that moves forward.”

What It Means: As the country continues to transition into an increasingly competitive global economy, students need the skills to succeed in a demanding workplace. CCSS help ensure young people, no matter where they go to school, will graduate high school with a strong baseline of basic abilities necessary to step seamlessly into college or a career. As Derose points out, delaying or reversing course on CCSS will only put students in those states at a disadvantage.