On June 18, 2010, Ohio officially adopted the Common Core standards. Like all states, no one really cared about its passage until 2013 turned it into a controversy. Supported by teachers, unions, the PTA and even Governor John Kasich, the rigorous standards appeared a great option until the controversy swept in. Since then, it’s been a back and forth with politics driving the wedge between opponents and proponents even deeper.
In this early period, Ohio both adopted the standards and was awarded one of the Race to the Top educational grants. One year later, they joined the developmental effort to create standardized tests that matched the Core’s curriculum, an initiative led by PARCC and Smarter Balanced. It was a relatively slow time in terms of debate.
Then, from seemingly out of nowhere, the opposition grew fast and strong. Often cited as being fueled by conservatives as well as other states successfully stopping their own implementations of Common Core, bills began appearing calling for the total repeal of the standards. Even though the entire education committee stood behind the Core because it introduced the most rigorous standards Ohio had ever seen, opponents seemed to be crawling at their chance to pass legislation that would stop it. Many even admit to having never even heard about the standards until implementation really kicked into gear to prep for testing in 2014.
Though naysayers continued throughout 2014 to shut down the Core, Ohio stood strong, continuing forward until this year’s first round of official testing. Much like anything new, though, it met with plenty of bugs that left the school’s less than pleased. Including crashes and what was widely considered to be a waste of time, lawmakers have been quick to move toward scrapping PARCC altogether in favor of a multiple standardized testing system where each district gets to choose their own test.
In response to this, PARCC Chairman Char Shylock is continuing to fight hard for the test they’ve worked so hard to build, citing that new things are always hard. They will have issues. However, the company is responding to and fixing everything reported to them, exemplifying this by a reported 85% drop in calls to their help center following the first trial.
Even still, both Republicans and Democrats in Ohio are actually agreeing. Both sides support a multi-test system. In their eyes, it’s the only way for school districts to assign tests that accurately measure their students’ improvements over the course of the kids’ educational careers.
While the debates still rage on, it’s no longer about repealing Common Core so much as it is about how best to mold it to fit the needs of the students in Ohio. With total implementation finally over, the hardest part now is deciding how to turn it into state standards that everyone can be happy with.