School Testing and Common Core

Read the complete article from Governing here.

We must continue to let our Legislators know that the education of our youth is the number one item on our agendy and that will continue to hear from us until Common Core is repealed in Kentucky!

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School Testing

“When governors and state school officials released the Common Core curriculum standards four and a half years ago, the new program was touted as a fair and accurate way to measure student achievement across state lines and cultivate the analytical skills that many argue American children will need in order to compete on a global scale.”

“But the past year has seen a growing pushback against the standards, and as students begin taking tests based on the core curriculum this spring, lawmakers at the state and federal level will likely be talking about chipping away at them.”

“Although the standards were created almost entirely by the states, critics see them as reflecting priorities set out by the Obama administration. Incoming Senate Republican leaders aim to limit the federal government’s role in promoting test-based accountability and also challenge the frequency of the tests, an issue that concerns even prominent Democrats.”

“The Common Core is a list of things students at each grade level should know or be able to do in English and math. The standards attracted little controversy at first, as 45 states quickly adopted them. But the federal government has played a role in the program’s implementation. It has offered grant money and reprieves from earlier education mandates to those states that install Common Core or other “college-and-career-ready” standards. The Department of Education has given hundreds of millions of dollars to state associations designing standardized tests that the students in participating states will take starting this year.”

“Those tests have to hew closely to the standards to be useful, and the standards have to be relatively uniform to help policymakers get a sense of how their students stack up with those in other states. But over the past year or so, 11 states have decided to use tests of their own, while another 13 are considering that option, according to Education Week. That’s not counting the handful of states that went further last year and repealed the standards altogether.”

“There’s a strong possibility more states will strike out on their own in 2015, either before the tests can be given, or later, in response to lower test scores that will likely accompany the more challenging standards in their first year. As support for Common Core continues to splinter and states assert their independence, the coming year will be an important test of the new system’s political viability.”

“And while officials are keeping one eye on the first year of Common Core test scores, they’ll be training the other eye on Capitol Hill. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a leader among Republicans on education issues, has already said he wants to amend the 2001 No Child Left Behind law to leave states free to decide how they evaluate teachers. Alexander also wants to consider eliminating some annual testing. That’s an idea that’s caught on in states as varied as Texas, a stronghold of test-based accountability, and Connecticut, where Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to start by relieving high school juniors of the burden of taking both state exams and college entrance tests.” — Chris Kardish  

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