News You Can Use:

Report: Other States Replaced Common Core and Got More of the Same | Albany Times Union
The three states to replace the Common Core ultimately produced standards that bear a close resemblance to Common Core State Standards, according to a report by the New York School Boards Association. “If New York’s experience is anything like that of Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina, the standards that the state ultimately adopts probably will not look much different than the old Common Core standards,” the study states. The report reiterates the findings of a white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success, which notes that such efforts “invariably lead to either modest adjustments and renaming… or, academic standards that are inferior to the Common Core.” Last year, as Karen Nussle explained, “It is virtually 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.”

Five Years In, Results Paint Complex Picture of Common Core | District Administration
Although implementation of the Common Core is in its early stages, some states have shown promising academic improvements. “Common Core is alive and well,” explains Adam Ezring, policy director for the Collaborative for Student Success. “While it’s still too early to know the full impact of the standards, we’ve seen some promising results from early adopters.” In Kentucky, the first state to adopt the standards, student achievement has improved overall, the article notes. In Tennessee, another early adopter, remediation rates have fallen consecutively over the past four years, and in 2014 the state made the largest improvement in college-readiness rates in more than a decade. “[States] can hold the course and continue to support higher expectations,” Karen Nussle wrote previously, “or they can go the way of Oklahoma and go backwards.”

Success in Advancing Good Faith | Albany Times Union
Education officials in New York have listened to parents and taken steps to improve transparency when it comes to standards and accountability. New York is a national leader in its test release and transparency practices, a report by High Achievement New York finds. “In terms of clarity, consistency and commitment to transparency, New York is setting the standard for major states around the country,” the editorial notes. A growing consensus has emerged in New York urging parents to “opt in” to high-quality assessments, and analysis indicates the state has raised its proficiency targets, giving families better information about student readiness. “It is time for opponents to accept that the state has made enormous strides on test transparency in a very short time, and to work with other stakeholders to help make sure the assessments themselves keep moving in the right direction,” the editorial concludes.


Correcting the Record:

GOP Platform Knocks Common Core and Data Collection, Praises School Choice | Education Week
The Republican Platform, which was approved by delegates Monday night, denounces Common Core State Standards. Rejecting a “one-size-fits-all approach to education,” we “repeat our longstanding opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it,” the platform states. However, the platform’s suggestion that states were forced to adopt the Common Core ignores that states voluntarily adopted the standards and most are still moving forward with implementation. Moreover, conservatives can support limiting the federal role in education and Common Core State Standards, and in fact, the Every Student Succeeds Act better assures state autonomy over education. Here is where the GOP platform gets it wrong:


On Our Reading List:

Digital Device Choices Could Impact Common Core Test Results, Studies Find | Education Week
Analyses by test providers and other organizations point to evidence of potentially significant “device effects,” in which the electronic platform (a tablet versus a laptop, for example) used to administer a test could affect students’ scores. The results often do not follow a clear pattern, and the most comprehensive studies conclude overall test results are comparable across devices, despite some discrepancies on individual test items. “Absolutely, this preliminary evidence leads to questions,” says Marianne Perie, director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation. “We are so new into this and we need so much more research.”

Learning First Alliance Issues Back-to-School Communications Tools for Educators | Learning First Alliance
As parents and teachers begin to prepare for their kids’ return to school this fall, the Learning First Alliance released the Working Together for Student Success: A Back-to-School Communications Toolkit. The toolkit provides resources to empower educators to communicate with parents and communities about implementation of college- and career-ready education standards. “We are proud to offer a toolkit that will help school leaders and other educators strategize back-to-school communications,” says Richard Long, executive director of the Learning First Alliance. “There are many good programs and examples of schools preparing students for post-graduation success, and we hope this guide gives superintendents, principals, PTA leaders and other educators ideas and inspiration to show the good work that is happening in their schools.”

Mike Pence’s Record on Education Is One of Turmoil and Mixed Results | New York Times
Under Governor Mike Pence, Indiana was the first state to replace the Common Core. But the resulting standards “looked much like” Common Core. Gov. Pence also withdrew Indiana from the PARCC consortium. The state hired a vendor to create a state-specific exam, but Gov. Pence later criticized it for being too long and ultimately announced plans to create an entirely new test to be administered in 2018. The cost of the first test was twice as much as PARCC, and the contract for the latest is even more, the article notes.

Donald Trump Jr. Blast ‘Soviet-Era’ Schools, Tenured Teachers in RNC Speech | Education Week
During the second night of the Republican National Convention, two headline speakers addressed education issues. “Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class,” said Donald Trump, Jr. “Now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded Congress’ passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which he alleged “ended Common Core.” However, the article notes, ESSA does not end the Common Core State Standards and most states continue to use them.