Sunday, May 5, 2013

Common Core concerns grow . . .

This Education Week article about a Nashville, Tennessee panel discussion on the Common Core is just one of many taking place across the country.  What once looked like a slam dunk is being questioned by some in many of the 45 states that have adopted them.  One of the main issues is captured in the statement below from the Nashville panel.

The panel held Tuesday was among a growing number of such events being held nationwide. One main allegation is that the federal government is regulating education and allowing little input from local school districts.

"School choices, school curriculum are best established at the local level," said Casey Preston, a mother of two who attended the panel in Franklin. "I don't feel that the national government or the state of Tennessee should dictate what all children are studying or learning."

States such as Indiana are reviewing their adoption at the legislative level and have decided to put implementation on "pause" while they continue the conversations.

The state legislature approved and sent to the governor a bill to "pause" common core implementation, which had started in grades K-1, pending more study and state board of education hearings. From a practical standpoint, this may or may not mean a whole lot (except maybe a whole lot of confusion). The state is teaching only common core in grades K-1, and common standards alongside Indiana standards in all other grades. So the "pause" just means that Indiana standards will stay around for at least a while longer, according to Glenda Ritz, Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, who talked to me about education issues in general for a wide-ranging story I'm working on.

AFT President, Randi Weingarten, recently called for a moratorium on implementation of high stakes Common Core testing beginning in 2015.  Russo shares his agreement with her suggestion in This Week In Education post.  I share Russo's concern with the issues that will emerge with the inevitable drop in scores across the country with these new assessments.  It would have made much more sense for the assessments to be implemented over time as our students and teachers are given the opportunity to teach and learn the standards.

I am including in this post other recent articles about issues with the Common Core in this Education Next article, and others here, here, here, and here.  So far I am not aware of any issues in our state, but believe that it is only a matter of time as the push back on both the standards and the accompanying assessments grows.  We continue to move forward with creating teacher understanding and preparing curriculum and assessment materials for classroom use in our system, an important and resource consuming initiative.

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