‘Common Core’ In Jeopardy As More States Withdraw

Reblogged from Breitbart News Network:

common-coreGeorgia has now joined the states of Alabama, Utah, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania in withdrawing from the national Common Core tests. With this latest state withdrawal, the program appears to be in danger of unraveling.

According to Politico, now that the new math and language tests that are tied to the Common Core national academic standards are almost ready, state officials have found that the exams are too long, too expensive, and require a higher level of computer technology than is often available. Perhaps first and foremost, however, states are fighting back against the standards as a federal intrusion into an area that has historically been reserved for them.

“There are going to be lots and lots of forces pulling states away from these assessments,” said Andy Smarick, an education analyst with Bellwether Education Partners. “It doesn’t look good.”

In addition, the House has just passed the Student Success Act (SSA), a proposal sponsored by GOP Reps. John Kline (MN) and Todd Rokita (IN), to rewrite the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

The Heritage Foundation reports that the SSA would eliminate the federal mandate known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for reading and math proficiency, and thereby allow states to design their own accountability systems.

The SSA would also eliminate the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) federal mandate, a burdensome and ineffective regulation requiring teachers of core subjects to be state certified and have a bachelor’s degree. With research indicating that teacher impact on student achievement is not affected by whether a teacher is traditionally or alternatively certified – or even uncertified – the SSA again returns this decision to state and local educational leaders.

Very pertinent to the Common Core standards, the SSA would also remove maintenance-of-effort regulations that require states to spend money in order to obtain the associated federal funding.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the SSA:

…includes strong language clearly delineating that standards and assessments are not to be dictated by the U.S. Secretary of Education—important at a time when the Obama Administration has been pushing states to adopt Common Core national standards and tests. An amendment by Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R–MO) further strengthened that provision, providing a “sense of Congress” that “states and local educational agencies should maintain the rights and responsibilities of determining educational curriculum, programs of instruction, and assessments for elementary and secondary education.”

As Heritage notes, however, while the SSA could reduce federal red tape in schools, ultimately conservatives hope to substantially limit federal intervention in education. Admittedly, a “fix” to NCLB doesn’t hold a candle to allowing states to completely opt out of the federal program in order to spend their dollars on their most urgent educational needs.

Nevertheless, the push-back against federal intervention into education could undercut the goal of the Obama administration to set the same proficiency standards across the nation.

In fact, Heartlander Magazine indicates that if three more states withdraw from Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two federally funded national testing consortia that are creating Common Core tests, the group’s $186 million federal grant will be in jeopardy.

Once PARCC released its new cost estimate of $29.50 per student for math and language testing, Georgia announced its withdrawal. Georgia’s current testing costs $8 to $9 per student, and it assesses five subject areas.

PARCC now has 18 member states, while Smarter Balanced, the other consortium, has 24.

3 thoughts on “‘Common Core’ In Jeopardy As More States Withdraw

  1. Not sure, but I think I’m right about this: while Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states (so far) which will not be using the Common Core tests, I believe Pennsylvania is going ahead in adopting the Common Core curriculm, as are nearly all states. Perhaps one or more board members will post something which will shed some light.

      • Thank you, Tim. I read the Parkesburg Gazette post to which you referred me, and all of the articles linked to it. And I’ve also been doing some more reading on my own about Common Core, what little I can find. I continue to be jaw-dropingly shocked by the little amount of information, particularly news reporting, that’s out there. If the broadcast or cable TV outlets have devoted one minute to the matter, I haven’t seen it, and it does not turn up in any internet search. If major magazines or national newspapers have put Common Core on the table, the pickings have been slim. I’m a pretty regular listener to talk radio, but if Common Core has ever been discussed in that medium, well, I missed it.

        One can go to the official Octorara Area School District website (http://octorara.k12.pa.us/site/default.aspx?PageID=1) and find no mention of Common Core, except as a line item in the minutes of the July 15 school board meeting.

        And that local blog which last winter was in hyper-drive trying to discredit you professionally and personally, to do all in its power to undermine your candidacy for a seat on the OASD board, has not yet deigned to say one word about Common Core. Well, this being summer, when the livin’ should be easy, I guess pictures of greasy firehouse breakfasts take precedence. (No disrespect intended to any of the local firehouses or churches which do what they must to try to raise revenue; I am a big fan and a frequent customer.)

        For me, here’s the bottom line: on the one hand this whole Common Core business can seem very complex and complicated, while on the other hand it seems pretty simple. On one hand it makes sense to me to have a uniform set of educational standards for all the states in the union, and to have those standards relate in a direct way to what this country’s colleges and businesses are demanding, and likewise to have those standards relate to what is being done in some of the world’s fastest growing economies, where student achievement is advancing by leaps and bounds. On the other hand I understand and very much appreciate the voices of critics who say that Common Core, like Obamacare, is an attempt by the federal government to take over another segment of society. And like Obamacare, make no mistake that if Common Core becomes the foundation of our education system, virtually everything about every student will be tracked in a federal database.

        Education-establishment proponents of Common Core, and education-related businesses which stand to profit handsomely from the the widespread adoption of both Common Core standards and Common Core testing, will of course say otherwise. Don’t you believe them. They are self-interested snake oil salesmen. If Common Core becomes the educational law of the land, you can bet the ranch that from pre-school through kindergarten, elementary school through middle school and high school, every scholastic burp of each and every student will in one way or another be tracked…on a federal database, there to reside throughout the person’s life, to be likely accessible to future prospective employers, and who knows who else?

        Do I believe that this country should move towards more uniform educational standards? Yes, absolutely. And do I believe that those standards need to be kicked-up a notch or two, you bet. But do I believe that the federal government, specifically the U.S. Department of Education, especially under this administration, is the best mechanism for effecting the needed change? No, not by a country mile. The history of my own 65 year lifetime has amply demonstrated to me that the federal government rarely gets anything right, and that even when it does manage to stumble upon a common sense solution to a problem, it inevitably costs more than the gross national product of half the countries in the world.

        I am in favor of more uniform educational curricula and standards. I am against Big Brother federal government calling the tune. Forget the federal government and its impositions from on high. Let there simply be an agreement among the states to coordinate their educational curricula. And let there be a collective middle finger thrust in the face of an overweening federal government which seems intent on controlling, well, just about everything.

        I said previously and I will say again, sadly: profound change is about to sweep over the education of this country’s children. And almost nobody knows about it, even has a glimmer. I lay the blame for that on the usual suspects: government that is anything but transparent and forthcoming, and a media which long ago dispensed with asking hard questions and demanding clear answers; a media which has forgotten how to focus on important issues; a media which has become emasculated; a media which can spend literally thousands of hours and a bazillion lines of print chronicling the late night Facebook perversions of Anthony Weiner, but cannot bring itself to say squat about Common Core. Amazing, truly amazing. No wonder why we are in the sorry state we are.

        I won’t go so far, not even close, as to equate you to a latter day John the Baptist, Tim, but in some sense you are a voice in the wilderness. At least you are focusing on the important things, the things that local residents should know, if only they would take the time to open their eyes and understand.

        Chuck Vail

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