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New Jersey’s Common Core ‘Replacement’ Is Pretty Much Just Common Core
Daily Caller
On Monday, the New Jersey Standards Review Committee recommended keeping the “vast majority” of the state’s Common Core Standards, the article reports. The group recommends making no changes to about 85 percent of the standards, the Newark Star-Ledger notes. Officials say the recommendations are “tweaks and clarifications rather than overhauls,” and the state should continue to use PARCC assessments, the Wall Street Journal adds. “We were not looking to develop a new set of standards, but rather to improve on what we had,” said Kimberly Harrington, New Jersey’s chief academic officer. Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote last year one reason why states are overwhelmingly sticking with the Common Core is because “it’s impossible to draft standards that prepare students for college and career readiness and that look nothing like Common Core.”

Why Parents Don’t Need to Fear Common Core Math
Common Core Watch
Writing on a recent Hechinger Report article that suggests it would be better for parents to act as “the highway patrol rather than a chauffeur,” Fordham Institute’s Kevin Mahnken says parents can help their kids by working alongside teachers, instead of criticizing changes to instruction. “In fact, parents embracing a role as a secondary resource allows teacher to teach and students to learn—with great difficulty at times, but on their own terms.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success last fall notes, “It’s important for kids to learn multiple approaches to solving math problems…so that they develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”

Did Georgia Make a Mistake Going It Alone on Tests?
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Jemelleh Coes, a former Georgia Teacher of the Year and a participant in research led by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, writes that student assessments are a “necessary component of a full education,” and tests like Smarter Balanced and PARCC are “superior to [states’] previous tests.” She continues, “I hope our policymakers and education officials stay the course with the PARCC exam because it is a test worth taking.” Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, explains while the results from new tests have been “sobering,” parents should “resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests.”

What You May Be Misunderstanding about the Common Core
Misunderstandings about education standards, and specifically the Common Core, have led to “conflict” and “uniformed decisions,” writes Paul Emerich France, a Chicago teacher. “A standard is not a lesson; it is a sentence describing goals or objectives for lessons,” and “used correctly, can be a conduit to emergent curriculum.” France notes that much of the criticism against the Common Core has been informed by incomplete or misleading information. Likewise, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett explains, “Myths, exaggerations and hysteria about what the Common Core means and does have dominated the ‘debate’ and the real issues have been obscured.”

New York City’s High School Graduation Rate Tops 70 Percent
New York Times
New York State education officials announced Monday that New York City’s graduation rate edged above 70 percent for the first time. Statewide, 78 percent of students who entered high school in 2011 graduated on time, up from 76.4 percent the year before. Graduation exams “are becoming more rigorous as they are aligned with the Common Core Standards,” the article reports. As the Honesty Gap analysis made clear, states like New York have taken steps to help more students not only graduate, but graduate fully prepared for college and careers, by adopting rigorous, consistent academic standards and high-quality assessments.

Correcting the Record:

Flagging Duncan’s Excessive Celebration over ESSA
Washington Times
The Every Student Succeeds Act “actually seals in federal control, rather than empowering local stewards of education,” claims Robert Holland, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. Under the law, the U.S. Department of Education will continue to impose “top-down controls on education a majority of Americans don’t want.” In fact, Republican lawmakers have hailed the ESSA as a “huge win for conservatives” because it puts greater control in the hands of state leaders and prevents federal authorities from interfering in state and local decision. Here is where Holland gets it wrong:

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Maine Legislators Hear Conflicting Views on Common Core Tests
Portland Press Herald
On Monday, educators and members of the business community testified before the Maine Legislature’s Education Committee against LD 1492, a bill that seeks to replace the state’s Common Core Standards. “Stay the course,” urged Ben Gilman of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “Yes, these standards are rigorous, and yes, these standards are different than the ones we knew in our own schools,” said Jennifer Dorman, 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year. “The focus is now on teaching the process of learning, rather than teaching students a specific skill set about a certain topic.”

West Virginia Panel Eyes ACT
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Last week, members of the West Virginia Commission on Assessment said they will likely recommend the state replace its Smarter Balanced assessments with the ACT. The group will provide its advice to State Superintendent Michael Martirano, who will then make recommendations to the State Board of Education. The commission will meet again today and has requested more information about the ACT Aspire tests.