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Why I Hope the Common Core is Not Dead
In response to claims that “Common Core is dead,” Lindsey Stevens, a high-school teacher, urges states and districts to “hang onto our focus on these standards.” “They are quality standards” that “I want my own child to be able to meet,” Stevens says, and educators are just now beginning to align curricula to them. Changing course now would create a “moving target.” Common Core State Standards “are creating a culture of education where students can transfer skills and be critical thinkers.” Stevens’ position reflects the overwhelming support among teachers for rigorous, consistent academic expectations and high-quality assessments.

Giving Military Kids a Better Shot at a High-Quality Education
Inside Sources
Military families move frequently, and access to high-quality education for the children can affect servicemen and women’s decision to continue their service. As a result, states have an incentive to provide rigorous, consistent education standards in order to retain military installations, which support local communities, writes Matt Leatherman, a Stimson Center fellow. The report reinforces military leaders’ call for consistent, rigorous education standards. Earlier this year retired Maj. Gen. Spider Marks wrote, “Common Core State Standards resolved that for so many military families, offering them assurances for the first time that their children would be on par academically with new classmates, eliminating one of the most stressful aspects of military moves.”

Correcting the Record:

This Year’s Top 10 Stories in K-12 Education
Education World
“This was not the year for Common Core,” an Education World article trumpets beneath the headline, “Common Core Support Descends into Free Fall.” The evidence supporting those claims is just as flimsy as the claims themself: Massachusetts “will be completely scrapping Common Core assessments,” the article posits, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his state “will be pulling back” following “unfavorable findings” from the Common Core Task Force. In actuality, 2015 was a strong year for the Common Core and high-quality assessments. Here’s where Education World gets it wrong:

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Montana Drops Smarter Balanced, Chooses ACT for High School Test
Education Week
Announcing results from Montana’s Smarter Balanced exams, State Superintendent Denise Juneau said Monday the state will replace Smarter Balanced with the ACT for high-school juniors. “We are going to use this as a baseline,” Juneau said. “Whether we put validity into these scores on a statewide level remains to be seen.” Concerns about too much time spent testing was a “key factor” in the state’s decision. “It doesn’t make sense to ask juniors to take the ACT and the Smarter Balanced assessment. The change will cut testing time for public high school students by two-thirds, and allow them to focus on preparing for college and career,” Juneau said.

Elia: Big Changes Coming for Testing, Evaluations, Common Core
Politico New York
New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Ellia said Monday that substantive changes will be made to testing, teacher evaluations and Common Core State Standards. “We have to develop an accountability system that is understandable, that isn’t so complicated, and that can in fact allow schools to locally move toward a better place,” Elia said in an interview. State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher added of the state’s academic expectations, “We lost sight of the fact that these standards were created to make sure that students were college- and career-ready.”

Illinois Shifts Gears on College Entrance Exams, Chooses SAT over ACT
Chicago Tribune
Illinois officials have decided to replace the ACT college entrance exam with the SAT for high school juniors, but some districts indicated they will continue to administer the ACT, at least in the short-term. “We will take the ACT no matter what this year,” said Karen Warner, a spokeswoman for Hinsdale Township High School District. The SAT better aligns with Common Core State Standards, which schools are implementing, says Pat Halloran, superintendent for Morris Community High School District.