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Teacher: Lessons from a Struggling Student
Arizona Republic
Kristie Martorelli, the 2012 Arizona Teacher of the Year, writes that by holding students to low academic expectations “we tell students they’re prepared for the rigors of college or the professional world when the reality is, they’re not.” Martorelli helped to conduct research organized by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, which in side-by-side comparisons a group of leading educators found assessments aligned to high education standards “are better measures of student progress that gives teachers a better picture of [students’] academic performance.” In a memo last fall, Karen Nussle notes, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do in college or a career…For parents and educators, that should come as welcome change.”

Let’s Try Seeing the Value of Common Core Testing with ‘New Eyes’
NJ Spotlight
Jeanne Muzi, a participant in research led by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year to “assess the assessments,” writes that the groups comparison of PARCC and Smarter Balanced exams to those several states used before show the consortia tests “accurately measure students’ true depth of understanding, better align with classroom instruction and provide a balanced range of questions.” “As an educator, assessments like PARCC and Smarter Balanced are the kinds of tests I want students to take,” Muzi adds. While the “tests aren’t perfect,” Muzi’s message mirrors that of Louisiana State Superintendent John White, who says: “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline… and that is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

Correcting the Record:

The Fight over Common Core Ain’t over Yet
Daily Caller
Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act will test whether leaders will “fight on the behalf of citizenry, or whether they [will] spiral into disrepute,” claim Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty in an opinion piece published by the Daily Caller. The Common Core is “demonstrably and fatally defective” and only persists, the authors suggest, because state leaders have fallen victim to “the political gadfly class” and “crony ‘capitalists.’” In fact, leaders at the state and local level have weighed the evidence and seen past the rhetoric, opting to build on the Common Core framework to meet student needs. Here is where Robbins and McGroarty get it wrong:

Kentucky Republicans Introduce Bill to Dismantle Common Core
Associated Press
A group of Republican state lawmakers in Kentucky introduced a bill that seeks to “dismantle” the state’s Common Core Standards, according to the Associated Press report. State Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Wilson says the standards have created a “quagmire of instructional compliance rather than results.” In actuality, the bill introduced by lawmakers seeks to review the state’s education standards, and lawmakers should be leery of full-scale repeal. Kentucky, the first state to adopt Common Core State Standards, has achieved some of the biggest academic improvements in the country. Here is where the article gets it wrong:

Florida Sets Passing Scores for School Test
Associated Press
On Wednesday, the Florida Board of Education approved new proficiency benchmarks for its state tests in reading and math that continue to overstate student preparedness. Under the new scores, about 51 percent of 10th grade students met proficiency targets, a percentage well above that identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The move means that Florida will continue to provide parents and teachers with less-than-accurate information about how well prepared their children really are, walking back efforts to provide better accuracy and transparency. Here is where the State Board got it wrong:

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Delaware Scraps State Assessment for High School Juniors
Associated Press
On Wednesday, Delaware officials announced the state will replace Smarter Balanced assessments for high school juniors with the SAT college entrance exam. The move comes one week after State House Democrats urged Gov. Jack Markell to allow 11th-grade students to use the SAT as the high school graduation exam; the SAT has been updated to better align with Common Core State Standards. Separately, some lawmakers plan to override Gov. Markell’s veto of a bill allowing students to opt out of state tests without penalty, the article reports.

Before Stepping Down, New York’s Top Education Official Looks Back
Metro Focus
Outgoing Chancellor of the New York Board of Regents Merryl Tisch says the state’s implementation of Common Core State Standards, though not perfect, has ushered in a new era in which all students are held to levels that prepare them for college and careers. “I believe in standards that are aligned with 21st century competencies,” Tisch says in an interview with Metro Focus. “I believe that every child who graduates high school in New York State, or any place in this country, deserves a choice: do I want to adopt a career right away or do I want to go on to higher education? And to the extent that we stayed with our old standards, we were diminishing the choices that our students were going to have.”