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Where Special Education Students Are Succeeding under Common Core | Hechinger Report
At Public School 172 in Brooklyn, New York, special education students performed much better on state assessments than their counterparts across the state. Sixty percent of special education students scored proficient or above in English language arts and almost all were proficient in math. Educators attribute the success to personalized learning based around the Common Core. “We really try to create that individualized educational experience that’s going to help every kid as they move through the standards,” says Erika Gundersen, assistant principal at PS 172. “Under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states,” 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote previously.

AzMERIT Tests Still a Work In—and Toward—Progress | Arizona Daily Sun
Even though a majority of students did not meet proficiency benchmarks on Arizona’s AzMERIT assessment, performance is likely to improve as students continue to achieve to the Common Core and officials continue to fine-tune the exam, the editorial board writes. The option to take other kinds of test is ill-advised, the piece notes. “Once schools and entire districts start opting out, the remaining testing base could be skewed in ways that won’t be reflective of the state as a whole. The Common Core (which the editorial mischaracterizes as a “curriculum”) is not going away. “Other states have stayed the course and seen marked improvements. Arizona can, too.”

Cox Speaks of Utah Issues, Successes | Davis Clipper
Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox reiterated that the state was not mandated by the federal government to adopt the Common Core, and state officials continue to lead implementation efforts. “Our legislature passed a law saying the federal government will have no control over education in our state,” Lt. Gov. Cox said. He added that Utah education officials reviewed and refined the standards to ensure they meet students’ needs—as many states have. “At the end of 2014 the standards were significantly better than the 2007 standards,” added Rich Kendell, head of the review committee. “And they were developed independently from the federal government. There was no coercion.” A 2014 review ordered by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and led by the state’s Attorney General concluded the Common Core in no way jeopardized Utah’s control of its education standards.


Correcting the Record:

Why the Opt Out Movement Is Crucial for the Future of Public Education | Huffington Post
Parents and teachers are outraged by over-testing and misuse of assessment results, which “don’t serve any purpose other than to rank their children,” Diane Ravitch argues. “No child receives a diagnosis of what they know and don’t know,” and “the passing mark is not objective; it is arbitrary.” Ravitch claims “parents have seen the destruction of neighborhood schools, based on their test scores…as well as a loss of control to federal mandates and state authorities.” Ravitch urges parents, “Opt out of the tests…Opting out of the tests is the only tool available to parents, other than defeating the elected officials of your state.” However, high-quality assessments are one of the best tools parents and teachers have to ensure their students are making progress. Opting out not only puts their child at a disadvantage, it hurts communities and does little to improve testing policy. Here is where Ravitch gets it wrong:


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Colorado Officials Are Not Happy with How the New Federal Education Law Is Playing Out. Here’s Why | Chalkbeat Colorado
Officials from the Colorado Department of Education and the Board of Education aired concerns that regulations governing the Every Student Succeeds Act intrude on state and local jurisdiction. “The rules seem so distant from what the intent of the law was,” said Joyce Rankin, a member of the Board of Education. “They’re saying the rules are creating more flexibility. I would argue they’re not,” said Patrick Chapman, director of federal programs for the Colorado Department of Education. Some members indicated they believe current education policies do not need to change, and some suggested the state reject federal funding to avoid regulations associated with it.