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What America Can Learn from Oklahoma’s Go-It-Alone Approach | Collaborative for Student Success
As the Oklahoma Legislature considers adopting a set of education standards to replace the Common Core, Karen Nussle says lawmakers face a choice: “will the state regress to a lower bar or will they stand for higher expectations?” A new white paper by the Collaborative explains Oklahoma is confronted with either adopting standards that will disadvantage students, or returning to the drawing board—because it’s impossible to replace Common Core State Standards with learning goals that are both explicitly different and more rigorous. “Now Oklahoma must face a similar choice: reject political rhetoric and defend higher standards, or capitulate to a few loud voices by lowering the bar,” Nussle concludes in her memo.

Increased Emphasis: Art Offers New Ways to Teach Core Subjects | Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Teachers in Mississippi are using dance, music and visual arts to help students grasp subjects like math and reading. Contrary to criticism, Common Core has pushed the arts into the classroom more than before, the article reports. “Common Core does change the way teachers are doing things in the last couple of years where it’s becoming a more holistic approach, where they’re pulling in the arts and they’re reaching for all kinds of different experiences to teach content,” Yarbrough says. Lisette Partelow, director of teacher policy at the Center for American Progress, wrote last fall, “Contrary to popular perception, Common Core was designed to be less prescriptive than many states’ previous standards…Those who claim the Common Core is stifling creativity are revealing nothing but the narrowness of their own imaginations.”

Correcting the Record:

The Politicians Want to Rewrite Our State School Standards—Again! | Tulsa World
The editorial board argues that Oklahoma lawmakers should approve the state’s new academic standards, which it claims “Common Core advocates and extremists who took down Common Core” oppose. They claim that State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister “says it’s time to move forward, and we agree,” the editorial concludes. As Karen Nussle explains in a new memo, the Oklahoma Legislature must decide between inferior standards or going back to the drawing board. Lawmakers shouldn’t put the state’s students at a disadvantage by adopting weak standards. Here is where the editorial gets it wrong:

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Common Core Supporters Vow to Fight Ballot Question | Gloucester Times
Leaders of the Committee to Protect Educational Excellence in Massachusetts – a coalition of teachers, superintendents, parents, businesses and nonprofit groups – vowed to turn back efforts to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards. “I cannot think of a tactic more dangerous to our schools and children,” said former State Education Commissioner Bob Antonucci. “Taking an ax to all the hard work that’s been done by Massachusetts educators in the past five years would be both financially devastating and horribly disruptive to the state education system.”

Bronx Educator Betty Rosa Named N.Y. Regents Chancellor | Wall Street Journal
Betty Rosa, a longtime educator and critic of New York’s standardized test sytem, was elected chancellor of the State Board of Regents on Monday. “If I was a parent and I had a child who was taking these exams, and I looked at the conditions that exist, obviously I would say ‘Yes, I would opt out,’” Rosa said in an interview. “Because I don’t think these are the right tests.” Of the state’s Common Core Standards, Rosa said, “I’m looking to lean on practitioners and experts to help us craft…what these standards need to be.”

Smarter Balanced Testing Can Begin Wednesday | Billings Gazette
Montana schools will begin administering Smarter Balanced assessments Wednesday. State officials anticipate a smoother rollout than last year, when technical problems prevented many students from completing the exam. “We didn’t have any of the problems we had last year,” says Roger Dereszynski, a district assessment director, of the pilot tests this year.