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How Common Core Helps Military Families | Military Times
One of the biggest challenges for military families, which move six to nine times during a child’s K-12 career, is the quality of schools—and specifically that standards vary from state to state, writes Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards. Common Core State Standards represent “our best chance to raise the bar for all students and “make it a little easier on our kids” when they transition between schools. A separate Military Times article by Karen Jowers noted, “In some cases, military students find themselves in a new school where they may be bored because they’ve already learned the material. In others, they may struggle to catch up to the grade level.” Like Ham, retired Army Maj. Gen. Spider Marks wrote, “[Common Core Standards] create a uniform yardstick among states that gives military families the peace of mind that there will be consistency in their child’s education.”

Opt-Out Movement Is Out of Hand | Newsday
Pressure to have parents withhold their children from state testing is “coming from the well-organized and – funded opt-out movement,” not a parent-led push, the editorial board writes. “Standardized tests are the only objective way to compare achievement across multiple classrooms, schools, districts and states…Opting out won’t help fix any [student outcome problems].” Education and civil rights groups encourage parents to “opt-in” to high-quality assessments because they are an important tool to ensure all students are held to high expectations. Last year, 12 national civil rights groups wrote, “We rely on the consistent, accurate, and reliable data provided by annual statewide assessments to advocate for better lives and outcomes for our children.”

Dan Snowberger Frustrated that Parents, Students Fail to See Value of Standardized Tests | Durango Herald
Dan Snowberger, superintendent for Durango School District, says high-quality student assessments like PARCC are important tools for parents and teachers. “It shows what you know and compares your progress against other schools in the state and against 10 other states,” Snowberger said. “It shows how our kids are doing in a larger context.” Unlike Colorado’s former tests, PARCC assessments “measure critical-thinking and problem-solving skills,” adds Christy Bloomquist, director of curriculum. Last fall Karen Nussle explained, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career… For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Correcting the Record:

Is the Common Core Past Its Peak and Heading toward Oblivion? | Washington Post
Columnist Jay Mathews erroneously suggests that “new data indicate that the Common Core may already have passed its peak and begun the slow decline into oblivion.” Citing research by Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless, Mathews argues that between political headwinds and a decline in NAEP scores, “it is hard to see how [Common Core State Standards] can survive.” However, states have raised classroom expectations since implementing the Common Core, and it will take years for the full impact to be realized. Here is where Mathews gets it wrong:

Acts of Deception Have Morphed into Bullying | New Boston Post
The Every Student Succeeds Act “all but guarantees” Common Core State Standards, or “a close imitation under a different name,” will remain in place in most states, argues Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas. “All that most parents can do henceforth is keep their children home on days when the schools give federal or state mandated tests in order to make mandated tests invalid—and the curriculum they drive not worth teaching to.” ESSA ensures federal authorities cannot push any set of education standards on states, and opting out of state tests, as Stotsky suggests, puts students at risk. Here is where she gets it wrong:

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Ohio Seeking Input on Math, English Education Standards | Toledo Blade
The Ohio Department of Education is seeking input from parents, teachers and the general public to refine and adjust the state’s academic standards. The effort marks the first time Ohio has reviewed its standards since they were adopted in 2010. State officials say the effort is an opportunity to build on and improve the existing standards, not to completely rewrite them. “What we are talking about here is concrete changes to the standards,” said Jim Wright, director of the Office of Curriculum and Assessment.

New Education Secretary: Bold Agenda. Just 10 Months to Get It Done | NPR
Outlining an agenda for the remainder of the Obama Administration, newly confirmed Education Secretary John King Jr. says his office is “very focused on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.” “We’ve got to put in place regulations and guidance for states and districts as they work to implement the new law to try [to] close achievement gaps and provide better opportunities for our students who are most at risk,” Secretary King says. “We will be laying a foundation for the work that states and districts will do really over the next few years.”

PARCC Testing Begins Again but Still No Opt-Out Policy | Chicago Sun Times
Illinois schools will administer PARCC assessments again this spring, but neither Chicago Public Schools nor the Illinois Board of Education have directives for how schools should treat students who opt-out. For the second year, the PARCC tests have been shortened, and results will be returned earlier. “PARCC is a mandatory exam and the district’s failure to implement the exam does have serious consequences,” said Janice Jackson, chief education officer for Chicago schools.

Here’s Every Remaining Candidate’s Position on Common Core | Daily Caller
A recap of the presidential candidates’ positions on the Common Core says Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’ pledges to repeal the standards don’t make sense. “Common Core cannot be ‘repealed,’ because it is not a product of federal legislation,” Blake Neff reports. Ohio Governor John Kasich has been steadfast in his support for the Common Core. On the Democrat side, Hilary Clinton has applauded the standards, while Bernie Sanders has not addressed the issue on the campaign trail.