Back on June 2, 2010, West Virginia joined the ever growing list of states that would promise to adopt the newly proposed Common Core standards by the 2014-15 school year. They became further involved by joining the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. This group of state representatives were tasked with developing the national assessment that would then test students based on their grasp of these new standards. As of today, West Virginia is pulling out of the Core.
Unlike the vast majority of other states that backed out of the Common Core for fear of federal overreach, West Virginia was more concerned about the Core’s effect of the minds of the children in terms of climate change. As a state, West Virginia is an enormous supplier of the nation’s energy. This a huge part of their economy, hence why the Core became a problem with it demanded teachers teach students about climate change in a certain light.
This sore spot is what broke the camel’s back, so to speak. In February of this year, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted to go over the standards yet again and to remove any of the strategies that required instructional methods. With the work already in progress, it has been mandated to be finished by October and ready to implement in the 2017-18 school year.
Interestingly enough, though, the Core was actually repealed in 2015. After further examination, many found that last year’s repeal was in name alone as many of the core tenets still remained. This current year’s bill is there to erase those points that seem too close to the original set of standards. Yet, with this third change to classroom objectives in only seven years, the educators are finding it hard to believe these changes are actually for the good of their students.
To further drive away the Core from West Virginia, the test given that was aligned with the Core proved to be less than stellar. According to results from all grade levels, only fifth graders proved to be proficient in either math or English. For all students, only 51% tested acceptable in English while a shocking 30% were so in math. To add insult to injury, West Virginia’s students performed worse than all other states that took the exam and released their results.
However, instead of blaming the Core, the Board of Education took responsibility for failing their high schoolers, addressing the fact that the state has not done all it could to prepare them for life in college and beyond. That being said, it didn’t go without some finger pointing as a few schools were singled out for not taking the test seriously.
All the same, there is still no word as to whether West Virginia will continue on with this Core aligned test now that the Core is no more in West Virginia.