News You Can Use:

Position of the Executive Committee on the West Virginia College- and Career-Ready Standards | West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics
In a statement reiterating its members’ full support for the West Virginia College- and Career-Ready Standards, the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics notes, “The intent is to establish some basic goals based on content—not specify procedures to master that content.” The statement reinforces that the standards were not federally mandated, nor are they a curriculum: “The standards feature a tighter content focus and opportunities for deeper critical thinking, which affords teachers greater ability to guide our students towards a stronger understanding of math and how to apply it successfully in everyday life.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success points out education standards like West Virginia’s help students “develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”

Education Standards Help Prepare Students for Military Service | Charleston Gazette-Mail
West Virginia’s Common Core State Standards are important for students who want to pursue a career in the military “because they reflect the math, literacy and critical thinking skills” necessary to pass the military entrance exam and excel in service, writes retired four-star Army General Bantz Craddock. More than 20 percent of high school graduates nationwide could not pass the basic military entrance exam. “I strongly encourage legislators to maintain the standards and aligned assessments for the sake of better curriculum continuity for students today and enhanced national security in the years to come,” the letter concludes. Like Gen. Craddock, retired Army Maj. Gen. Spider Marks wrote last year, “Common Core Standards are strongly supported by military families because…they emphasize both content and depth of understanding to ensure students are able to apply knowledge, and are not simply groomed for standardized testing.”

Washington Can’t ‘Eliminate’ Common Core, Despite Trump’s Promise | Politico
A Politico fact-check of Donald Trump’s claim he would cut government waste by, at least in part, “getting rid of Common Core,” explains, “That’s going to be very hard: The Common Core education standards are run by states and aren’t explicitly required by the federal government.” Alyson Klein at Education Week points out, “That’s a moot point now that the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act bars the federal government from telling states what set of standards to use.” Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House education committee, called the ESSA a “huge win for conservatives.” “If states want to use Common Core, it is not the place of the federal government to tell them they cannot do that.”

Common Core Advances State Literary Culture | Berkshire Eagle
Lindsay Sobel, a mother and executive director of Teach Plus Massachusetts, writes that contrary to misrepresentations of the Common Core, the standards empower educators to “teach whichever literature they choose, and as much literature as they choose,” and help students to think critically about what they read. “Far from declining, the commonwealth’s literary culture will only get strong under Common Core.” In 2012 Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Fordham Institute wrote, 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.”

Correcting the Record:

ACT Aspire President: Oklahoma Is on the Right Track with This Test | The Oklahoman
Darice Keating, president of ACT Aspire, writes, “College and career readiness and the Common Core State Standards are not the same. ACT recognizes that. And the state of Oklahoma, which set expectations for students to be college and career ready and has repealed implementation of the Common Core State Standards, clearly also recognizes that.” The letter suggests that, unlike consortia tests, “ACT Aspire assessments provide the essential information to help get and keep students on the path toward readiness without wasting their time.” Keating suggests ACT Aspire’s definition of college- and career-readiness is somehow better than that of the Common Core, even though the standards are designed to fully prepare students for college and careers. Here is where she gets it wrong:

On Our Reading List:

BESE Endorses Common Core Revisions after Marathon Day of Debate | New Orleans Advocate
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed revisions to the state’s Common Core Standards late Thursday night. The changes cleared with only one dissenting vote. The revisions were recommended by the 26-member Standards Review Committee after six months of study. “We had a very robust conversation,” said Alesia Blanchard, who served on one of the subcommittees. “I am very proud of the product we put out.” “The upshot is we believe the standards remain strong for Louisiana students,” said Stephanie Desselle of the Council for a Better Louisiana. “They will help prepare students for college and careers.”

As SAT Enters a New Era, Students Say the Exam Has Improved | Washington Post
This week, hundreds of thousands of students will take the newly redesigned SAT test, which was recalibrated to better measure core skills taught in school. “Now the SAT is officially described as an achievement test meant to reward those who study hard in class,” the article reports. “It most resembles the work that kids are already doing in the classroom,” says David Coleman, president of the College Board. An estimated 463,000 students will take the exam this month. Student feedback has been positive. “I noticed that in the reading, there were a lot more ‘evidence-based’ question,” says one student. “It’s a lot more focused on what we have learned in school,” adds another.