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Elementary School Math Teacher Shares Her Thoughts on Common Core
Collaborative for Student Success
Common Core State Standards are helping students to make connections and understand “how math is actually done,” Jessica Nelson, an elementary school math teacher writes in a post to the Collaborative’s Facebook page. Nelson says she works with parents to help them better comprehend the changes. “When parents actually look at what their children are doing…it’s surprising how many look at me and say ‘oh that’s it?!’” Like Nelson, an analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success explains that Common Core introduces students to multiple problem-solving strategies so they “develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”

Prolonged Common Core Fuss Isn’t Productive
Huntington Herald-Dispatch
Endless debate over whether West Virginia’s new education standards are different enough from the Common Core “has become a distraction,” the editorial board writes. “The state’s students and teachers would be better served if lawmakers let the state’s experts carry out their work minus a further threat that West Virginia’s education standards will be disrupted again.” Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, points out that it is “impossible” to replace the Common Core with a set of distinct standards because “Common Core, though not perfect, represents a good-faith effort to incorporate the current evidence of what students need to know and do to succeed in credit-bearing courses in college or to land a good-paying job.”

Despite Troubles, Tomblin Emphasizes Positive in State of the State
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Without mentioning Common Core by name, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said political fights over the state’s education standards have hurt students. “Over the past year, the delivery of public education in West Virginia has been used as a political football by members of both parties,” Gov. Tomblin said. “It’s disappointing. It’s unacceptable, and it’s a disservice to our kids.” Education experts like former Education Secretary Bill Bennett have pointed out that attacks against Common Core State Standards, like those in West Virginia, have often been based on misleading information and ultimately risk putting students at a disadvantage.

Correcting the Record:

Lawmakers Eye Possible Veto Override on School Test Bill
Associated Press
A group of Delaware lawmakers led by State Rep. John Kowalko announced plans to challenge Gov. Jack Markell’s veto of a bill allowing students to opt out of standardized tests. If the veto is overridden, students would be allowed to opt out of state tests without repercussions – specifically the Smarter Balanced assessments. The move ignores the value of high-quality assessments to measure student readiness and to ensure students receive the support they need. Here is where Rep. Kowalko gets it wrong:

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Wisconsin Releases Results from Badger Exam
Wisconsin State Journal
On Wednesday, Wisconsin education officials released results from the state’s Badger Exam, the state assessment aligned to Common Core State Standards that was administered for the first time last spring. About 51 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded proficiency targets in reading, as did more than 43 percent in math. Lawmakers voted last year to replace the exam, making future comparisons to this year’s results unfeasible. This spring, Wisconsin students will take a new test for the third time in three years.

Louisiana’s State Education Board Has a New President
Associated Press
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Wednesday to place the three returning members into leadership roles, including making Jim Garvey, a lawyer from Metairie, the Board president. Garvey succeeds Chas Roemer, who did not run for reelection. Holly Boffy was tapped as the Board’s vice president and Kira Orange Jones as secretary-treasurer. The BESE sets policy for the state’s 700,000 plus students and writes the annual funding formula for public schools.

Ohio’s Superintendent Search Will Go into April
Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Ohio Board of Education set a plan to find a new state superintendent on Tuesday that will extend the search into April. The Board is seeking a replacement for Richard Ross, who stepped down from the position at the end of 2015. Lonny Rivera, former superintendent of the Oregon schools near Toledo, will fill the role until a decision is made. The final dates of a decision are still subject to change.

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address
New York Times
During his State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his administration took action to correct the “implementation mistakes” of Common Core State Standards. “We reduced testing, we increased parental involvement and empowered local districts,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The education system fails without parental trust. Our goal was to restore that trust…Time has shown that this was the right decision.”