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Common Core’s Surprisingly Deep Roots | US News & World Report 
Most states have strengthened their proficiency benchmarks, an achievement that’s “almost entirely a function of Common Core,” writes Robert Pondiscio of the Fordham Institute. “In short—and in short order—academic standards are a lot higher, richer in content and intellectual rigor than they used to be a mere 24 to 36 months ago. So too is the bar for proficiency. Despite withering political attacks, the line has held.” Last month a follow-up report to the Honesty Gap found most states have significantly narrowed discrepancies between state-reported proficiency rates and those found by NAEP. States “should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” explains Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”

Legislature Determined to Control Education | Wichita Eagle
Kentucky teacher Sarah Yost outlines how high academic standards empower teachers to best help their students, stating: “What I realize now about Kentucky’s Academic Standards is that the standards capture the wisdom of experienced teachers and help focus all teachers on what is essential for all students to know how to do before they leave our classrooms. Not that they dictate everything we will teach them, but they help us narrow in on what students need to learn how to do before moving on to the next grade.” Contrary to the misperception that Common Core State Standards constrict creativity and flexibility in classrooms, they provide teachers autonomy by setting high learning goals and giving states, districts, and educators control over how best to achieve them. As two New York educators wrote last year, Common Core State Standards empower “greater collaboration” among teachers and students, and allow educators to share best practices to unlock students’ full potential. That’s one reason why teachers remain strongly supportive of the Common Core. In fact, a 2014 Scholastic study found more than 80 percent of teachers who worked closely with the standards were enthusiastic about implementation.

Correcting the Record:

Keep Up the Fight against PARCC | Morris County Daily Record 
Wendell Steinhauer, president of the New Jersey Education Association, urges parents to resist the “devastating effect that high-stakes testing has” by opposing PARCC tests. “PARCC is not a good test,” Steinhauer argues. “We refuse to let PARCC stifle our educators’ creativity or our children’s futures.” However, mounting evidence suggests high-quality assessments like PARCC are the kind of tests parents and teachers should want their kids to take because they provide reliable information about student development. Here is where Steinhauer gets it wrong: 

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House Votes to Repeal Common Core Standards and Related Testing | Beckley Register-Herald 
On Friday, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 73-20 to approve a bill that would require the state to develop new education standards that explicitly do not resemble the Common Core. The day before lawmakers amended the legislation to include a provision that will keep the current standards in place for the next school year. Last year the State Board of Education replaced West Virginia’s Common Core State Standards with College- and Career-Ready Standards, though opponents argued those too closely resembled the Common Core. The amended bill would require the Senate President and Speaker of the House to create a committee to review the College- and Career-Ready Standards and recommend changes.

Legislators Launch Bipartisan Effort to Repeal Common Core Standards | Midland Daily News 
A group of Michigan lawmakers led by State Representative Gary Glenn announced they will introduce legislation this week that will seek to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards. “Michigan students deserve better than to have their futures serve as an experiment with untested, unproven standards that have produced no evidence of actually helping students learn,” Rep. Glenn argues. The legislation would replace the Common Core with standards previously used in Massachusetts and allow parents to have their children opt-out of state testing.

State Achievement Standards Remain Out of Sync | Real Clear Educaton
A report by the American Institutes for Research finds states’ academic achievement standards vary widely, with only a handful as rigorous as the proficient standard on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The study notes PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments’ college-ready standards are comparable to NAEP Basic levels, PARCC is comparable to NAEP Proficient levels in math, and PARCC is “significantly above” ACT Aspire standards for fourth-grade math and eighth-grade math and English.