Category Archives: Common Core

Oklahoma’s Repeal of Common Core

Though initially on board with adopting the Common Core, things came to a screeching halt when the state decided to drop them as a way to maintain state control of educational standards. Interestingly enough, Oklahoma is notorious for having some of the lowest educational achievements in the entire country. Nevertheless, it was a move that made dissenters pleased but teachers upset.

 

Tests First

Unsurprisingly, Oklahoma first pulled out of the standardized test that was to be associated with the Core, PARCC. This, however, was hardly a detrimental move as many states are opting out of this test altogether. Following a survey, it was found that only one in five of Oklahoma’s 1,773 schools would have enough technology to even administer the test, not to mention the sheer impossibility of funding an overhaul to get every school the technology to do so. In addition, their state test only took two to three hours while PARCC would have upped that number to nine. It was a decision in 2013 that was not driven by anti-Core individuals so much as the reality of Oklahoma’s situation.

 

Core Second

Interestingly enough, however, it seemed that Oklahoma, a state that appeared to be for the Core, eventually dropped it in 2014. What made this so shocking was the fact that Governor Mary Fallin had been loudly proclaiming the Core’s benefits since 2011. She even loudly defended them at the National Governors Association in early 2014. One day after this, Oklahoma introduced a bill to repeal the Core. It practically zoomed its way through the state government and ended up on Fallin’s desk. However, in a move that would shock many, Fallin approved the bill.

This proved to be a hard hit for the state’s teachers that had been preparing for Core implementation for three whole years. Many didn’t even know of the change as the Core was dropped in June, months before they would return to teach. For a lot of teachers, this was a rough blow for their students. As it turns out, there are quite a few schools in the state where many students that start the year will have moved to a different school by the end. Teachers saw the Core as a way to help those students that were always on the move across the country by regulating what was learned, when.

However, even though the Core is gone, its spirit still remains. No matter what Oklahoma is using, most teachers have adopted and adapted numerous ways the Core taught them to reassess teaching children. Now firm believers in the benefit of teaching in a way that promotes students to make discoveries on their own, classrooms are faring a bit better. While the government continues to argue about where the state’s education is headed, the teachers are doing all they can to make sure their students are prepared for anything.

Kansas fights for Common Core to remain in schools

On October 12, 2010, Kansas agreed to take on the Common Core standards, planning full implementation by the 2013-14 school year. Even so, Kansas has proven to be a rollercoaster in terms of support versus hatred. Every single year since 2013 the state has had to fight to keep the Core’s standards in place.

 

Constant Battles

Like most states, there was little dissention until 2013 when the standards officially rolled out in schools across the nation, and Kansas was no different. Suddenly, there were voices crying out against them, calling for a repeal. Come 2013, defunding legislation managed to pass the State Senate but utterly failed in the State House.

Following this, 2014 brought in more vitriol. Another bill, Bill 2621, came into existence that, adopted, would void the adopted standards. While many hopes lied on this bill to be a death sentence to the Core, it never came to pass. Come 2015, the standards remained a firm part of the Kansas educational program.

This most current year, 2016, resulted in yet another proposal that would outright ban the Core altogether. Failing rather dramatically after a three hour debate, it was clear that those in power remain supportive of the Core. Citing as it providing education uniformity for military families that move often, it is seen as a positive change, whereas the bill would have given educational power to the lawmakers, stripping it from the actual educators of the state. In the end, the only support the bill received was support from those that felt the Core remains too strongly tied to the federal government.

 

Testing Decisions

One area that did change was in regards to the standardized test. Originally a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the group of states focused on creating a standardized test for the Core, Kansas dropped out in 2013 with the full intention of creating their own test. This was a popular decision as the Smarter Balanced exam was going to be far more expensive than the state exam developed for them at Kansas University.

While this did mean delaying a Core assessment by one year, price remained a very strong factor. Costing $1 million more per year, it was hardly surprising that the state changed where their test would come from. This decision also helped assuage a good chunk of the naysayers as, in their minds, the move proved to be a distancing from the control of the federal government.

 

Moving forward, Kansas is doing its best to keep its students at the forefront of education without wasting what precious few resources they have. Currently, it seems that the Core is proving to be a benefit though testing results won’t be available until after this spring when students face their first Core-based assessment. For good or for bad, though, the Core will remain.

Connecticut stands Proudly with Common Core

Connecticut was on board with the Common Core from the beginning. Formally adopted in 2010, it has since been fully implemented, reaching said status during the 2013-14 school year. However, while most states began fighting the Core, Connecticut took a different approach, fighting against some of its regulations for the sake of the teachers.

 

Early Evaluations

Starting 2014, the state decided to fight the government’s requirements to base teacher evaluations off of new test scores that align with Core standards. Instead of the blowback being because parents simply didn’t like a set of standards tied to the government, it was based on the fact that the teachers needed more time. After all, every new test starts with lower scores than normal, so, according to Connecticut reasoning, how would it be fair to judge their teachers based off of these first few rounds of new tests?

The decided answer was that it wasn’t fair at all.

Instead, it was decided that evaluations based on this program would be delayed for later. In addition, they pushed for a decrease in the number of classroom observations required and an increase in available technical assistance for the processing of the evaluations. While certainly a step in the right direction for teacher acclimatization, it still didn’t assuage any fears emanating from the select group of parents that eventually rose up to naysay the Core.

 

Low Scores

As no surprise to anyone, 2015 revealed some pretty poor scores for the students of Connecticut. According to the new standardized test, only 40% of students were passing math while 55% passed English. Known as the Smarter Balance Assessment, or SBAC, Connecticut both served and continues to serve on the committee that designed this exam as a way to test student acumen in accordance with new Core standards.

Such scores did prompt accusations of validity. For instance, one high school long noted for being a top performer of the state found that its students did poorly, prompting a few of the teachers to wonder if the test or the students not taking the test seriously caused the drop. That being said, it was shown that the younger students that had spent more time learning with Core standards actually did better than the older students. Many educators were not surprised by this as shifting gears in learning is a challenging feat to accomplish.

In the end, despite calls to repeal the standardized exam entirely, many are taking the bump in stride, noting that even though the scores were low, they still met Connecticut educational expectations. Because of this, it has become important to many to not shrug of the information so much as use it to build on. There are clear areas for improvement and teachers are working hard to fill those gaps, but the state itself is not looking to kill the Core as an easy way out.

Common Core in Georgia

The common core standards are the K-12 academic standards for in Mathematics and English language. Various countries and states have developed these standards and the selection or adoption of the common core is dependent on choice of the state. These standards have been globally recognized for 2 and 4 years college classes. The basic purpose of the standards is to ensure comparison in various parts of the state about education standards and learning capabilities. The state of Georgia adopted Common Core standards in 2012 like other 45 states and recognized the standards in its educational curriculum. The standards enabled Georgia, like all other states who have adopted, to clearly define what the students will be learning at the end of their classes. The states, teachers, parents and all who are benefiting from common core standards get opportunity of learning in the same language with a mindset of heading towards the same goals. The state of Georgia in adopted and integrated these standards so that it must be ensured that the students after passing their school levels will be able enough to meet the college standards.

Originally, the common core standards were adopted by Georgia in 2010 with modification but the implementation was ensured in 2012 in full form. Georgian common core standards were deployed for Mathematics, English, Literature, Science, Arts and other technical subjects. Before the adoption of standards, the Georgian Public Policy Foundation was asked to provide information about its major issues and the other states who have adopted common core gathered all the necessary information. Its main purpose was to evaluate and analyze the impacts of standards on students and the educational practices I Georgia.

According to some other sources, when the state of Georgia adopted these standards in 2004, the Math and English standards of the country were included in top of the world. Various private and public schools in the country have participated in national assessment tests. The state remained a leader in initiating the common core standards and an Ex-governor had co-chaired the general meeting of common core standards. But the State Board of Education in Georgia adopted these standards in 2010 and the politicians and legislatives hardly agree over these standards and this happened in cases of common core and GPS standards. Later on many similarities were found in the standards of common core and GPS. 80% curriculum in common core of English matched with GPS while Math percentage was more than 90%.

The federal government and the legislatives have tried very much to ban the standards in introducing Georgia curriculum for schools and other levels. A bill was also turned by the assembly in 2014. The committee that disapproved the bill comprised of teachers and various administrators. Out of 167 members, 5 hands raised in favor while 13 were against the bill so it was rejected and cancelled. The common core standards and its annexing into the educational syllabus have very controversial issues in the history of Georgia as these faced a lot of opposition and criticism from many sects of people.

Confusion of Common Core in Indiana

Like most states, Indiana jumped on the adoption of the Common Core. Tied up with the chance to win government grant money for schools and purported to be higher standards that would propel students to a global level of competitiveness, it seemed like a good fit for the state. Unfortunately, this did not sit well with the state, resulting in a repeal that sent the educational community of Indiana reeling.

 

Three Years of Silence

Educators were on board with the Common Core, doing what they could to slowly roll out these new standards. However, in the background, voices of dissent began growing louder, resulting in the eventual ban of the Core in 2013, becoming the first state to repeal the Core altogether. Ironically, this did little to appease the critics that wanted it gone in the first place. They cried out that Indiana only dropped the Core in name alone.

 

Unforeseen Consequences

Though the state saw the ditching of the Core as a proud moment, it has actually proven to be an incredibly detrimental decision. The biggest problem has come from the standardized test question. Common Core came with its own test – the PARCC. While states have not been required to use the PARCC, many have turned to it as it was designed to align with Core standards. Apart from some tech issues, it’s proven to be a legitimate test thus far.

Opposed to the Core, it was only natural that Indiana would be against PARCC as well. At the same time, though, Indiana has to have a standardized means of testing its students’ academic proficiencies. This is what ultimately led to a new test that took students 12 hours to complete as it forced them to do the three types of its life cycle in one sitting. Educators were less than pleased.

From there, it was on to another test known as the ISTEP. This one proved to be more disastrous than the last with scoring delays, accuracy issues and technical glitches. It was so bad that the Indiana House was almost unanimous in ruling to dump the ISTEP by 2017 in favor of a different test. What test that is has yet to be decided, though educators are hoping for the elimination of standardized testing altogether. However, in yet another ironic movement, Indiana is looking toward the US Department of Education’s experimental state exams.

 

Indiana seems to be a poster child for what happens when a state doesn’t know what it wants. First it opted for the Common Core. They dropped it to appease dissenters only for those dissenters to shun the abandonment of the Core. Now they are looking back to the government for assistance in creating a standardized exam that they themselves have been unable to do successfully. Educators in the state can only hope this confusion pays off for the students that are having to bear the brunt of such indecision.

California has huge support for Common Core

Adopted in August of 2010 by the state, Common Core came to California with the backing of almost everyone. Followed up with $1.25 billion from the state to implement the standards, California has become a great example of how successful the Core could have been if other states had brought it in correctly.

Slow Implementation

One of the biggest hindrances with the Core has been its use as a way to drive teacher accountability. While other states used it as such far too soon – a move that sparked outrage – California’s governor, Jerry Brown, knew that more time was needed. Instead of linking the new standardized tests to teacher proficiency, Brown remained firm in his stance that he would not do so, even if that meant not being able to apply for the funds possible through the Race to the Top program.

This slow adaptation also meant the state didn’t actually begin implementation until two years following their formal adoption of the Core. Oddly enough, the state has faced criticism for such a delay even though this very move is what has led to the current state of teacher and parent acceptance of the Core.

Few Opt-Outs

This past year, the Smarter Balanced test was administered. Created by California and other states on a governing council, the Smarter Balanced is the new standardized test that use the Core standards to find out how students are faring. Due to its hotly debated place within the country’s educational community, parents are allowed to opt their children out of the test. The 1% of the entire state’s student population to opt out speaks volumes in regards to how successful the state has been with implementation. This is especially true when compared to New York where a staggering 20% of students opted out.

Even so, the 1% does speak to small collections of dissenters, with the majority of them coming from affluent families. While this may seem questionable, the reason is simply that the students themselves didn’t want to waste any time studying for a new exam when they were already focusing hard on getting good SAT scores.

Proponents praise California for their slow approach to the Core, citing the reserved steps as the reason why the state is succeeding in light of so many other failures across the nation. Instead of handing teachers brand new curriculum and wishing them the best of luck, the entire state is unified and understands what is expected. Governor Brown is even proposing the state provide schools with more money to further see to the continuing implementation of the Core.

While the state does still face challenges, its steadfast belief in slow adoption is what has led to such resounding success in a state much larger than the other states that are seeing failure. As many teachers would say, patience is a virtue.

Arkansas Dismantles the Core

Arkansas has been one of the oldest adopters of Common Core, bringing it into the state July 12, 2010. Taking this involvement a step further, they are also one of the governing members of PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, a collection of states that works to write yearly assessments based on the Core standards. While there has been a growing amount of recent controversy, this southern state has performed the most peaceful coup as they work to find standards that fit their own state.

 

Initial Controversy

Starting in 2010, the state has been slowly transforming its standards to those aligned with the Common Core, having now fully implemented all changes. However, not all individuals were happy about this toward the final stages of implementation. In 2014, legislation was filed trying to block funding for the Core. This failed to get very far.

Then, during Asa Hutchinson’s run for governor in 2014, he stated that, if elected, he would found a task force faced with the responsibility to study they Core’s standards and make recommendations based on what they found. He was indeed elected and, in early 2015, founded a team comprised of 16 people. It actually proved to be a successful venture.

Following this, a bill was proposed in 2015 that would remove Arkansas from PARCC. This failed and the state ran its first statewide PARCC exam that same year. Yet this bill didn’t remain quiet. Instead of giving up completely, it was toned down, merely asking that the committee’s decisions be considered going forward. Interestingly enough, the committee called for the state to not administer PARCC tests but ACT tests instead.

 

Slow Dismantling

As it stands, Arkansas is now fully set on going after the ACT assessments, citing the four hour test as being much better for college preparation determination than the eight hour PARCC. In addition, the committee found that the ACT is also aligned strongly with Common Core standards, making it an ideal replacement.

The overhaul didn’t stop there, though. In fact, the Department of Education decided to appoint their own team of educators to review the standards and make recommendations due by July 1 of this year. These new standards will then drop the Common Core moniker and become one that belongs to the state itself as requested by the governor.

In Arkansas, it would seem that protests against the Core are not loud and boisterous like in other states. Instead, opponents have slowly but surely worked their way into positions of power and have been dismantling it from the inside. First to go was the assessment. Next is the Core itself. However, this hasn’t been bad because the changes have been easy to adapt to. With the Core in place now and only recommendations being made in the future, this upheaval has proven to be healthier for the state’s educational system.

Alabama sees Potential in future of Common Core but still is worried

As far as states go, it was relatively surprising that one of the hearts of the south readily picked up the Common Core. Though not a federal program, it was nevertheless backed by the government with promises of grants and other aid for troubled school systems. Since then, though, the state has been see-sawing back and forth between respecting its challenges and abhorring them.

 

The Current State of Affairs

Most recently, Alabama held a hearing regarding a bill that would do away with Common Core altogether. Held in the capital of Montgomery, parents and local educators gathered to discuss if this bill should pass or not. New reporters quickly noted a disparity between the two factions. On the one side sit the educators, pleased with the challenges this new way of thinking is bringing. They also cite just how much of a waste of time it would be to throw away all of the hard work they’ve put toward implementing the Core. Parents, however, want things to go back to the way they were so that they don’t have to learn how to help their children. Core math problems don’t look the same as the math problems the parents had in college, leading to a group of people driven by fear instead of the best interest of their children. So far, though, there’s no word as to how the bill will progress, leaving the state in an uneasy place.

 

A Bigger Reach

Alabama’s continual back and forth with the Core has led to broader implications both within and outside of the state. Since its adoption, Alabama lawmakers managed to successfully get President Obama to sign a bill in 2015 that stated the government could no longer attach federal aid to educational programs like they did with the Core. On a conservative note, this is a big win for all local parents and teachers as it allows them to think more on the actual merits of a program rather than be enticed by the desperately needed help for underfunded school systems.

Beyond this, though, testing for Core standards has brought to light yet another issue plaguing the state – over assessment. While the federal government requires only one yearly test of student aptitude, Alabama students face no less than eight. Though great for gathering statistics, it’s a trend that is seriously cutting in to crucial learning time on actual subjects and not on how to test for each one. For this, Alabama educators are calling for the creation of statewide assessment audits and for federal money to go toward bettering one test and not creating more, building a system that works to bolster teacher morale.

As for Alabama’s Core future is concerned, the educators are going to try their hardest to keep it around, but education is a far more complicated process where scapegoating is the last thing that will promote a better future for students.

Kentucky was the first Common Core state, so how are the ratings now?

Proud to call itself the first state to adopt the Common Core standards back in 2010, Kentucky has faced its fair share of debate, especially with its location in such a conservative part of the nation. Given a “D” rating of its educational system prior to Core adoption, the state was more than happy to jump on these higher standards as a way to help the state’s children become competitive on a global level.

 

For Rich and Poor

As in most states, the districts hit hardest by this change have been those in the lowest performing areas where attendance rates spike on days when children receive backpacks of free food to take home. While challenging, it’s these areas officials are hoping the Core can help out.

Test scores from 2012 to 2013 showed slight improvement, but improvement nonetheless. Kentucky actually continued to lead the Core alterations with their first Core-based standardized tests appearing in 2012. Unsurprisingly, these higher standards resulted in a predicted drop. The following year, these results increased. Even so, this increase wasn’t enough to keep opponents quiet. Since then, it’s been nothing but growing dissent, a dissent matched up with the ever increasing political fervor influenced by election year.

 

The Threat of Dismantling

Just recently, Republicans revealed a bill that would break apart Common Core for good in the state, taking power away from what they believe to be government rule and giving it back to the state. While all well and good in light of the conservative dislike of the Core, both sides are quick to point out that such laws have passed in other states and have merely rebranded the standards, making the whole thing a waste of time and resources.

In the end, most professionals feel that there just isn’t enough data to determine if the Core has been beneficial or detrimental. Even with improving scores, there’s always room for doubt when no clear successes have been achieved. Because of this, even those against Common Core are hesitant to see the Republican bill pass. Everyone certainly wants what is best for the students, but is changing up their curriculum again in less than five years really worth it?

The future of Common Core in Kentucky is a bit harder to discern than other states. Both opponents and proponents remain vocal about their beliefs, making the state appear to be in a highly tumultuous state. Students are certainly challenged by these new standards, so that, at least, shines a positive light on the topic. However, rigorous academics may not be enough to overshadow politically motivated leaders of the state. Arguably, it could be said that this debate will only get louder as election season grows and will finally calm down following November. If that holds true, then Common Core will more than likely remain a staple of Kentucky’s current educational system.

Montana Continues to Support Common Core

Of all the 50 states, Montana has been the most fervent in its support of the Common Core, even having education award winners in the state write opinion pieces in favor of it. This has led to arguably the smoothest adoption and integration of these new standards in the entirety of America. And while it hasn’t been free from backlash, it has nevertheless shown the potential of the Core when backed with support instead of conflict.

 

Smarter Balanced Results

Even with heavy support from teachers and parents, the recently released statewide assessment scores have shown a severe dip with only 38% of students proficient in math and 45% in English. These results were quickly followed up with the fact that a new test is at fault, not the students. In fact, the dip was to be expected and has been seen across all states that have released their Smarter Balanced results. To make matters worse, the scores only account for 70% of the schools in Montana since the other 30% couldn’t take it due to technical difficulties.

Even so, educators are making the best of the situation, deciding to use the test scores to measure future success. Though the numbers don’t account for every child in the state, they nevertheless give the state something to work off of as educators continue to refine their teaching technique to better fit the requirements of the Common Core. As it stands, Montana will continue its run as the Core’s poster child.