News You Can Use:

Wall Street Journal, “Rand Paul Fails Spelling Test in Common Core Attack”: In a series of tweets disparaging a meeting between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, Sen. Rand Paul mockingly joked the two former governors had exchanged a “third time’s a charm” bracelet and a “Common Core” friendship bracelet. The latter features an animated a note saying, “Dear Jeb, Thanks for your Frienship.” [sic] A Bush spokesperson responded, “You misspelled friendship. Maybe there is something to be said for higher standards?” The other graphic included a typo as well. Sen. Paul removed the post and reposted it with a corrected spelling.

What It Means: Bush’s spokeswoman’s response says it best: “Maybe there is something to be said for higher standards”.

Associated Press, “Co-Sponsor Changes Stance on Bill to Repeal Common Core”: A Tennessee lawmaker who previous co-sponsored a bill seeking to repeal CCSS says she will likely change the measure after talking with educators who say the Standards are helping improve student outcomes. “I have talked to teachers who have told me in so many words, at last, we are no longer dumbing down our children,” state Sen. Dolores Gresham told the AP. “That kind of encouragement is very important when other people are not so enthusiastic.” The article notes Jim Wrye, a director of the state’s largest teachers union, said most teachers support CCSS but want to ensure they are prepared to teach them. “More rigor is something that Tennessee has been doing for a while and has the support of teachers,” Wrye said. “[T]he change in standards have allowed teachers to go much further in depth, in subjects and in concepts in later grades.”

What It Means: Across the country, states are taking ownership of CCSS by reviewing the Standards, adding to them, providing training for teachers and parents, and making changes were necessary – exactly as the Standards were designed. It’s important that educators, who work most closely with CCSS, have a role in helping inform policy, as Sen. Gresham and Gov. Bill Haslam have made clear. In Tennessee, one of the earliest adopters of the Standards, students have made some of the biggest academic improvements in the country.



Correcting the Record:

Daily Caller, “How to Make Common Core Look Good”: Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project say CCSS do not set up students to succeed in selective colleges, which is why the “Obama administration has tried to forestall this result” with incentives that “pressure colleges and universities to accept these unprepared students.” The piece argues Pres. Obama’s call for greater access to community colleges “mask[s] the unpreparedness of students.” “What this appears to be is a larger plan to alter not only the K-12 education structure in America, but also higher education,” the authors write.

Where They Went Wrong: As NYT columnist Frank Bruni wrote this week, Pres. Obama’s call for greater access to college “comes late in the game” in that it largely ignores the importance of adequately preparing students for the challenges of college-level work or a competitive career. The Collaborative’s Karen Nussle points out, “[Pres. Obama’s] plan runs the risk of subsidizing remedial education at the community college level by paying colleges to teach high school content. Regardless of your thoughts on college affordability and accessibility, let’s all agree that a high school diploma must mean a young person




On Our Reading List:

Indianapolis Journal Gazette, “Legislature Looking at School Tests”: The state legislature is pushing a Senate bill that would require the state to adopt college- and career-ready standards by July 1, 2016, and ensure those standards align with the content of a nationally recognized, norm-referenced assessment approved by the board. “That is pretty much opposite of what is already underway and decisions already being made for a new test,” the article reports. State Senate Pro Tem David Long has said the state needs to be able to compare its students to those in other states. The state Department of Education is currently in negotiations under an RFP for a new end-of-year test, ISTEP+, to go along with the new standards. Last year the state passed legislation to come up with its own standards, which many observers say closely mirror CCSS.

Associated Press, “Bill Banning Common Core Standards Advances in Virginia”: Legislation prohibiting adoption of the Common Core curriculum standards in Virginia schools clearedthe Republican-controlled Education and Health Committee by an 8-7 vote on Thursday. The bill would prohibit adoption of the Standards without prior approval from the General Assembly. Virginia was not among the 45 states to initially adopt CCSS and does not currently use them.

US News, “Condoleezza Rice to Take Over Jeb Bush’s Education Foundation”: Former Sec. Condoleezza Rice will take over as chairperson of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a position formerly held by Gov. Jeb Bush. The Foundation has strongly supported CCSS.