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Common Core Is Dramatically Improving Teaching | Patriot Ledger
Common Core State Standards are “dramatically improving teaching in Massachusetts classrooms,” writes Lindsey Sobel, a parent and director of Teach Plus Massachusetts. In addition to giving teachers full control over how and what to teach, “Common Core encourages teachers to provide students with the skills to analyze what they read…Far from strangling literature, teaching of literature is only getting stronger under Common Core.” Like Sobel, Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Fordham Institute wrote as far back as 2012, Common Core State Standards “define rigor in reading and literature classrooms more clearly and explicitly than nearly any of the state ELA standards that they are replacing…These standards [give] more clarity and purpose than teachers have had for years.”

The New SAT: Keeping Up with Common Core | Las Vegas Sun
The SAT assessment recently received a significant “facelift” that administrators say is intended to better align the test’s content with Common Core State Standards and what students are learning in classrooms. Changes include a focus on evidence-based reading and writing, a tighter focus on math problem solving and data analysis, and an optional essay. College Board officials say the changes will make the test more accessible for all students, since it matches what they are learning in classrooms. The transformation reflects efforts among state policymakers to implement high-quality tests that measure students to college- and career-ready levels. Last fall, Louisiana State Superintendent John White explained, “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline.”

Louisiana Teachers Show How Common Core Advances Classroom Learning | Learning First Alliance
Rhea-Claire Richard and Bailey Debardelen, fourth grade teachers in Louisiana, explain Common Core State Standards are beginning to take root in classrooms. “We are beginning to see the growth in our students,” says Debardelen. “Locally, we feel a lot of support with the standards.” “[Teachers] see that the standards are the best way to get our students to think so much deeper in their learning, and they see that their students are being successful,” adds Richard. “The buy-in has been tremendous.” Polling indicates parents and teachers strongly support college- and career-ready education standards and high-quality assessments. Last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “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.”

Correcting the Record:

Efforts to Repeal Common Core Gain Steam in Kansas | Associated Press
The Kansas House Education Committee approved a bill earlier this month that would prohibit school districts from aligning materials, tests or programs to Common Core State Standards. “It’s a concern of ours because it still has some legs,” says Deputy Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander. Opponents in the state criticize the standards as a one-size-fits-all program. “The writers of this [curriculum] did not consider how differently kids think,” alleges one parent. In fact, Common Core State Standards were developed and voluntarily adopted by states, and local authorities retain full control over what is taught in classrooms. Here is where the repeal efforts in Kansas get it wrong:

Ted Cruz Is Absolutely Correct On Common Core | RedState
In the early stages of most recent GOP primary debate, the moderator asked for thoughts on the Common Core State Standards. RedState posted an article on the exchange, which is subtly titled “Ted Cruz is Absolutely Correct on Common Core.” But there are a number of reasons why this article – and some conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz – are incorrect and misinformed. Here is where RedState got it wrong:

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Common Core Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk | West Virginia Metro News
During the last day of the West Virginia legislative session, both the House and Senate gave final approval to HB 4014, sending the legislation to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for signature. The bill establishes a committee to review the state’s College and Career Readiness Standards, and removes West Virginia from the Smarter Balanced testing consortium. “The legislation…is going to send a very strong message that we want to make sure that our standards are the strongest standards that we can adopt,” said Paul Espinosa, chairman of the House Education Committee.

Did Kansas Err in Going It Alone on Standardized Testing? | Wichita Eagle
Michael Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute write that while evidence reaffirms the strength of student assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards, little is known about the Kansas Assessment Program, which state officials decided to use in 2013. “Given the powerful effects that tests have on what happens in schools, the crucial criterion for judging them is: Does the test encourage the kind of curriculum and instruction we want for children? In the case of the PARCC and SBAC tests, the answer from our review is ‘yes.’…For the Kansas Assessment Program, the answer is, ‘We don’t know.’”

Arizona Governor Signs Law to Allow State to Offer Alternatives to AzMERIT Test | Verde Independent
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law on Friday a bill that will allow the State Board of Education to offer alternative assessments to the AzMERIT test. “There is no reason to offer a duplicative state assessment when in many cases district and charter schools already offer a more rigorous alternative,” said State Representative Paul Boyer, an author of the bill. “The bill doesn’t let schools opt out of accountability. It simply allows them to choose another assessment if accountability and rigor can be secured.”