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Common Core Report

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 -- Scott Sterling

Common Core Report: What you need to know about what’s going on around the country

For many of the Common Core states, the 2013-14 school year is when the rubber meets the road. Implementation is in full swing for most, with completion scheduled for next year. Some states, further along than others, are even looking towards piloting the assessments or comparing themselves using existing nationwide tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

But the opposition is growing as well. Most of that opposition is not against the standards themselves, but the assessments being produced by PARCC and their being linked to teacher evaluations and other high-stakes schemes. Louisiana and Massachusetts recently pulled their support from the testing consortium. Florida and other states have signaled that they will do the same thing when their state legislatures reconvene next year.

Newsday ran an article late last year describing the new opposition forming on Long Island, where parents and teachers have joined to protest what they see as a rushed, haphazard implementation where their students are used as guinea pigs.

The same article discusses how Tennessee, an early implementer of the Common Core standards, is the fastest-improving state in the union according to the NAEP test. Educational leaders point to their involvement in the Common Core, but opposition groups are forming in that state as well.

Interestingly, everything seems to be moving full-speed-ahead for states implementing testing with Smarter Balanced. Michigan recently reaffirmed their commitment to the consortium, as has Kansas. All 23 states working with the assessment will participate in a field test this spring.

Kentucky father and activist David Adams has filed the first national lawsuit against adoption of the Common Core, naming the state’s governor, Senate president, president of the Board of Education, and others as defendants. The suit alleges that the state’s leaders signed up for the standards before they were even complete, violating the state’s constitution.

Fox Business ran an interesting article about private schools adopting the new standards. Of course, most private schools are exempt from the standards as they tend not to be accredited through the state, but some have voluntarily adopted the Common Core. The bottom line is that the decision comes down as a reflection of the politics and concerns of the parents the school serves.

Finally, this article from Pew gives a great overview of where implementation is state-by-state, including a handy map of who is ahead, who is behind, and who still expects to be on track for full implementation (assessments or no assessments) for the next school year.