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Common Core State Standards Are Still the Right Way to Prepare Students for College and Careers | Collaborative for Student Success
Gaps between the skills emphasized by the Common Core and those educators believe students need to become college and career ready should be attributed to a lack of professional support and weak implementation efforts, not the standards themselves, explains Jim Cowen in reference to a recent ACT survey. Moreover, the survey’s data represent opinions, not the evidence of what students need to succeed after high school. Many studies applaud the Common Core for using evidence to build on states’ old standards, and states leading implementation efforts have seen improvements in student outcomes. States have a choice, Cowen concludes: “They can go the way of Oklahoma and revert back to inferior learning goals, or they can continue to refine and build on the Common Core framework.”

Debunking the Myths behind the ‘Math Myth’ | The Atlantic
A.K. Whitney, a columnist who explains she avoided math classes for a long time because she failed to master foundational skills, writes that arguments that students shouldn’t be required to take high-level math “will do little to ease this country’s belief in the myth that math is for geniuses…Common Core Standards should be applauded, because they say to students: I expect more. I believe you can do this. You are at least worthy of trying.” The Common Core State Standards introduce students to multiple problem-solving techniques to help them identify which work best for them and to develop strong fundamental skills. And students are still expected to know their basics, like standard algorithms—all of which help students build the skills to succeed at high levels of math.


Correcting the Record:

Diane Ravitch to Obama: ‘I Will Never Understand Why You Decided to Align Your Education Policy with That of George W. Bush’ | Washington Post
In an interview with columnist Valerie Strauss, education commentator Diane Ravitch argues Common Core State Standards have widened achievement gaps. “There is great confusion about national standards and a national curriculum. The Common Core, for example, is both,” Ravitch claims. “It is far too specific and attempts to standardize every school in the nation.” In fact, the Common Core is neither national standards nor a national curriculum, and the learning goals ensure local educators and school boards have full control over what is taught in classrooms and how it’s taught. Here is where Ravitch gets it wrong:

Springfield School Board Urges Parents to OK Student ‘Opt Out’ of State Smarter Balanced Tests | Springfield Register-Guard
Oregon’s Springfield School Board urged parents on Monday to allow their kids to opt out of the state’s Smarter Balanced assessments. Calling the test an “ineffective measure of student growth and accountability,” the five-member board unanimously approved a statement recommending that parents “strongly consider exercising their right” to opt out of the exam. “[Smarter Balanced] was designed to compare districts and teachers, not to help students learn,” said Board chair Jonathan Light. Contrary to the Board’s position, high-quality assessments provide parents and teachers with one of the best tools to measure student development, and evidence indicates Smarter Balanced is among the best tests available. Here is where the Springfield School Board gets it wrong:



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School Funding, Common Core and 2016 Superintendent Races | Governing Magazine
Two years ago, the Common Core was a major point of contention in political races, but today, the standards’ importance on the campaign cycle has waned. Part of the reason is that many states have made adjustments to the standards. The enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act has also largely removed the narrative that the standards were forced by the federal government. With the debate about Common Core on the back burner, the article says, states have turned attention to school funding, which could be a contentious issue in the upcoming election.

California and Proposed Federal Regulations at Odds on How to Rate Schools | EdSource
California and the U.S. Department of Education appear to be on a collision course regarding the rating systems to measure schools, despite close parallels between the state’s school reforms and those called for in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The California Board of Education is moving away from a single index, score or number to rank schools and districts. However, a draft ESSA regulation requires states to assign a “single rating” to each of their schools, even though the law does not specifically call for it. There is now a 60-day comment period that will allow state officials and others to voice opinions about the proposed rule.

Idaho Education Subcommittee Ready to Push Back against Feds | Idaho Ed News
The Accountability and Oversight Committee of the Idaho Board of Education said Monday they are prepared to push back against federal education reporting rules and against requirements that all high school students take a college-entrance exam. The state does not have a formal school accountability system. Deputy Superintendent Pete Koehler said the ratings requirement would create an “apples-to-oranges” comparison. Instead, the committee recommended a “dashboard” system, which would provide several school quality and academic performance metrics.

Texas Education Commissioner Expands on STAAR Decision | Texas Tribune
On Monday, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath expanded on his decision to waive requirements for fifth and eighth grade students who failed this year’s STAAR exam, saying that a delay in the results forced the need to take action. The New Jersey-based vendor, Educational Testing Service, did not send scores to students in several districts, which prevented some parents from knowing whether to enroll their children in summer school. “We issued guidance encouraging districts to make accelerated instruction decisions entirely on their own, rather than wait and attempt to guess at STAAR results that hadn’t yet been received,” Morath wrote in a blog explaining the decision.