News You Can Use:

The Washington Post, “Conservatives hate Common Core. The rest of America? Who knows.” The article says that support for the Common Core ranged from 33 percent to 59 percent in a single month last year. Support was highest in June in a NBC/WSJ poll (59 percent) and lowest in a PDK/Gallup poll the same month (33 percent, with 60 percent opposing). A March UCONN/Courant poll found a narrow negative result (38 percent “good policy” vs. 44 percent “bad policy”), while a Pew Research Center poll found opinion tilting the opposite direction, 45 to 39 in favor. A separate Gallup poll of public-school parents in September found about one-third in support, one-third opposed and the rest having no opinion or unaware of the program. Polls offer two contrasting signs on where public opinion is headed on the issue. On the one hand, the principal goals of Common Core are very popular. The UConn/Courant poll found more than 7 in 10 saying it was a good idea to have “one set of education standards across the country for reading, writing and math.” Gallup’s poll of public school parents also found more than 6 in 10 supporting national education standards and almost as many supporting standardized tests to measure progress. These results suggest Americans support the broad goals of Common Core, and that support could pick up once people tune in to the issue. But there’s a major catch: The more people say they have heard about the program, the more they oppose it.

What It Means: More than two thirds of parents support higher education standards and those that are closest to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards- teachers- are also favorable to raising the bar to prepare students for college and careers. There are still many people, both conservative and liberal, who either don’t know enough about this issue or haven’t made up their mind yet. Generally, the majority of Americans support the broad goals of the Common Core and parents specifically support standardized tests to measure progress.

Achieve, Achieve released its annual ‘Closing the Expectations Gap’ report today, which details the results from its annual policy survey of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey asks states about the steps they are taking to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and the workplace; specifically, states report the status of their implementation of college- and career-ready standards, graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability systems.

What It Means: This year’s report found that while all 50 states and the District of Columbia have college- and career-ready standards in place, states still need to more closely align and implement policies in the other three areas in order to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for their next steps.


Correcting the Record:

Forbes, “Common Core Controversy: PARCC Test Underscores Dangers Of Standardization”: The article says that even though the Common Core State Standards were meant to strengthen the U.S. education system by ensuring students are ready for college and careers, that it appears to be having the opposite effect. The author says the problem is that all kids learn and test differently and that it’s impossible to capture the “nuances” under a framework of “common” teaching standards. The author also says that the PARCC exams have caused frustration among students and parents and says that is has become obvious that “teaching to the test” isn’t the best tactic to ensure kids are ready for college and careers.

Where They Went Wrong: Positive systems of assessments and accountability are one of the strongest tools parents and educators have to ensure high standards achieve their purpose: to adequately prepare students for college and careers. CCSS-aligned tests also put more focus on students’ ability to demonstrate reasoning, and therefore help alleviate pressures to “teach to the test.” Furthermore, states that have begun fully teaching to the Standards, like Kentucky and Tennessee, have seen some of the biggest academic gains in the country.



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The Spokesman-Review, “Washington Democrats oppose Common Core”: Leaders of the Democratic Party in Washington state have passed a resolution condemning the Common Core State Standards, nearly five years after they initially adopted them. At a meeting, the Democrats approved a resolution saying the state was unfairly pressured into adopting the new standards. They are asking the Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn to back away from the Common Core and return to a similar list of education goals created in Washington state. Dorn said Tuesday that he continues to support the Common Core and wonders why Democrats are taking this stand now. He said national standards make sense because mobile families, including those in the military, should get a similar education for their children no matter where they move. The state Democratic Party said the new standards give too much power to federal interests. The Democrats’ resolution says the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association were influenced by millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups to support the Common Core.

The National Journal, “Common Core a Huge Hurdle to Education Deal”: Fawn Johnson writes that “Republicans and Democrats are in rare agreement that there is a deal to be had on sweeping education legislation with [NCLB]. But first they face the near-impossible task of getting past two words that have become explosively controversial: Common Core.” GOP Sen. Pat Roberts who has authored “local control” legislation to ban the administration from pushing Common Core and other education policies on states. “There’s quite a bit of concern on the part of parents of schoolchildren that think that Kansas ought to be able to determine their own curriculum.” Roberts is in discussions with Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander of TN to include his local control bill in the measure. Johnson writes that in reality, Congress cannot do much in legislation beyond putting a firewall between the federal government and the states on Common Core. Alexander wants to allow states to adopt the parts of Common Core that they like and scrap what they don’t like. His draft NCLB bill also says there should be no federal involvement.