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Mississippi State School Board Approves Tweaks to Academic Standards
Associated Press
On Thursday, the Mississippi Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a series of minor changes to the state’s Common Core Standards. State Superintendent Carey Wright launched a review of the guidelines last summer. “It’s tweaking,” Wright said. “Our children are finally being held to high, rigorous standards and they’re perfectly capable of achieving those standards.” Mississippi’s decision adds to the long list of states that have opted to make adjustments to their Common Core State Standards instead of wholesale repeal. Last fall, Karen Nussle explained, “[Common Core Standards] are a floor, not a ceiling. And they were absolutely designed to allow states to tweak, amend and generally customize them in order to meet local needs.”

Group: Don’t Dump Common Core
Glen Falls Post Star
A report by High Achievement New York, a coalition of business leaders supportive of high academic standards, cautions against a wholesale replacement of the Common Core, saying it would be a waste of money and result in similar learning goals. The study finds states that replaced the Common Core ended up with new standards that are 90 percent aligned with Common Core State Standards on average. “Despite criticism, the Common Core are the most rigorous and high standards we have,” says Steve Sigmund, the coalition’s executive director. Last year, Karen Nussle wrote, it is “impossible to produce a set of K-12 academic standards that both bear no resemblance to Common Core, and adequately prepare students for college and career.”

Correcting the Record:

‘Dead White Guys Did Not Create This Country’
WND News
A third hidden-camera video released by conservative activist James O’Keefe, in which a textbook publisher employee says, “Dead white guys did not create this country,” is evidence Common Core “pushes an elitist, progressive agenda of global warming, gun control and other liberal-left positions on America’s children,” the article purports. While such comments are offensive to educators and parents, they do not reflect the substance of Common Core State Standards, which objective analysis has repeatedly shown do not push political, religious or social ideologies. Here is where O’Keefe’s latest video gets it wrong:

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Oklahoma’s Common Core Replacement Standards Up for Consideration
Education Dive
Next week, the Oklahoma Board of Education will consider the Oklahoma Academic Standards, the set of academic guidelines developed to replace the state’s Common Core Standards. The new standards could go into effect next year if approved by the state Legislature. The state Board of Education must first approve the standards plan before it moves to the Legislature for a vote. Julie Owens, director for El Reno Public Schools, says the new standards target grade-level appropriateness and will focus on college- and career-readiness, KOCO Oklahoma City reports.

Plans to Fix Statewide Standardized Test Involve Hiring Another Company
Alaska Dispatch News
The Achievement and Assessment Institute, a University of Kansas-based research center that developed standardized tests used by Alaska, announced it will hire a subcontractor at their own expense to enhance score reports. Alaska school officials have complained that the results from the assessments administered this year were too broad to be useful for classroom improvement. “We’re really advocating that they look at a different assessment,” says Monica Goyette, director of instruction at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. Results from the latest assessments show less than half of Alaska students met proficiency benchmarks in English and math, but educators’ concerns are about the vagueness of score reports, the article reports.

Skandera Is New Chair of PARCC Test Board
Albuquerque Journal
Last month, New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera was unanimously elected to serve as the chair of the PARCC Governing Board. All states using PARCC assessments have a seat on the governing board. Skandera has been New Mexico’s representative since the state joined the PARCC consortium in 2011. “[Skandera’s] unanimous selection as chair of the board shows that New Mexico is a national leader when it comes to giving our students and parents the honest academic check-up they deserve,” the New Mexico Department of Education said in a statement.