Education Week - January 29, 2014 - (Page 10)

INDUSTRY & INNOVATION > Tracking business trends and emerging models in K-12 Business Groups Address Common-Core Backlash CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tempting to sway governors, state legislators, and state school chiefs, according to Patrick J. McGuinn, an associate professor of political science and education at Drew University in Madison, N.J. State chambers of commerce- which have longstanding relationships, networks, and well-established resources-are considered to be among the most proactive and highly regarded interest groups. They are defending the common core on the grounds that the standards are essential to business interests and the long-term economic viability of their states. The standards are central to the Georgia chamber's number-one advocacy issue: education. The president of Achieve, a national research and advocacy group that helped to develop the standards, flew to Atlanta from Washington to address the recent chamber board meeting. And, as the Georgia state school board conducts an independent review of the standards at the behest of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal this spring and summer, the chamber plans to have a high-profile presence. Chris Clark, the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, said he expects the process to be fair and balanced. "We want the business community to go out and engage," reinforcing that "we're a state that has made a commitment to higher standards, and we want to move forward with that." Strong Responses At the national level, the emerging resistance to the standards- which have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia-are prompting organized responses from business leaders. "The opposition is strong. They are very vocal, and I don't want to dismiss concerns folks have around this," said Cheryl A. Oldham, the vice president for education policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "That's why it's incumbent on us to say why we do support" the standards. Last summer, the U.S. Chamber convened state and local chambers to talk about the issue. "Common Core: College- and Ca- reer-Ready Standards," a 16-page document, was published earlier this month, and in the coming weeks, the national organization will release online tools to help state and local chambers that want to address opposition to the standards in their communities, according to Ms. Oldham. Some of the funding to develop those online tools comes from a $1.38 million grant the chamber foundation received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation late last year, she said. (The Gates Foundation has also provided support to Education Week for its coverage of the education marketplace and new approaches to schooling.) Beyond those strategies, the national chamber is considering the production of locally focused videos- in partnership with state and local chambers and school districts-that could be used on the Internet to rally support for the common core. Because it's "a different battle in every state," the national chamber has not created a one-size-fits-all response to common-core opposition, according to Ms. Oldham. Direct assistance for approaches to rally support for the common core has been requested by chambers in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri. As for dissension in the ranks of state chambers about common-core support, Ms. Oldham said she has not heard of any. Public-Relations Tactics Some state chambers are watch- ing Kentucky, because it was the first state to adopt the common-core standards. Kentucky has already administered its first assessment based on the standards. The state experienced drops in student scores, as anticipated, but with little public outcry as a result-unlike what happened in New York state when scores dropped. Mr. Adkisson said a major publicinformation campaign that included the chamber helped defuse any public outcry about the test-score drops. Mr. Adkisson and state education Commissioner Terry Holliday conducted a whistle-stop tour, giving 15 joint presentations around the state to help explain the common core and manage expectations for test scores, Mr. Adkisson said. To mobilize supporters, the Ken- tucky chamber also worked with the Prichard Committee on Academic Excellence, a Lexington, Ky.-based statewide education advocacy organization, on a joint initiative to launch the Business Leader Champions for Education, a group of 75 business executives in the state. Today, these three groups represent a "response team" to common-core challenges. "We were fortunate to be in front of this before some of the political crosswinds were beginning to blow," said James R. Allen, the chairman of the champions group. Even with the level of acceptance in Kentucky, a group of Republicans introduced a bill in the House this month to repeal the common core, but the chairman of the House education committee, a Democrat, declined to call it up for a vote. "One of the favorite tactics in all these legislative debates is how many bills have been filed in how many states. Just having a bill filed doesn't mean anything. If it passes a committee or a house, that's another thing," said Derek Redelman, a vice president who focuses on education and workplace policy for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which has 10 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 29, 2014 | been active in supporting the common core. In Indiana, where the common core has encountered strong opposition, Mr. Redelman said the chamber ran radio spots at the end of the last legislative session when support was waning. "We were hearing consistently that Republicans felt the need to roll back common core or face repercussions from the tea party activists in future elections," he said. The radio campaign was intended to "remind Republicans that we also care about the issue, and ... to show that we were capable of applying pressure," he added. A bit surprised by the mounting backlash, most chamber supporters seem to think the standards will stand the test of the tea party backlash. But they wish President Barack Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, would stop publicly endorsing it. "The more the administration talks about common core, the worse it is for the effort," said Ms. Oldham, who worked for eight years in President George W. Bush's administration, most recently as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education while also serving as chief of staff to the undersecretary of education. David C. Adkisson, the president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, says his state avoided public outcry after a joint effort to educate the public about what to expect from the new standards. BLOGS Would Federal Incentives Entice States to Pass DREAM Acts? | LEARNING THE LANGUAGE | Democratic lawmakers in Congress have rolled out legislation that proposes financial incentives for states that adopt measures making college tuition more affordable for undocumented students. Introduced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, the In-State for Dreamers Act would raise fees on visas issued to international students who study in the United States. That revenue-roughly $750 million during the next decade-would be funneled to states that already offer in-state tuition rates or financial-aid packages to undocumented students. The measure would also seek to entice the 31 states that don't have their own so-called DREAM Acts to scrap any immigration-status conditions connected to receiving lower tuition and/or qualifying for financial aid. Gaining traction in Congress-or the states-seems iffy at best, given that only Democrats are listed as sponsors, not to mention the larger, more divisive (and partisan) differences surrounding immigration reform. On the flip side, Murray and Polis have focused on a subgroup of undocumented immigrants who have generated more support among GOP lawmakers: some undocumented youths who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. And raising revenue through new fees imposed on international students would seem more politically palatable. But like in Congress, some states are just as divided on the immigration issue, and no amount of federal money would likely persuade them to act. Coverage of entrepreneurship and innovation in education and school design is supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage. -LESLI A. MAXWELL New York Not Alone in Looking to 'Review' Common Standards | STATE EDWATCH | In his budget address last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that, due to his disappointment over the way the state's board of regents has rolled out the Common Core State Standards, he will assemble a panel to examine the standards and recommend "corrective action." The pushback has been bubbling in the Empire State for some time. Just to cite one example, the state teachers' union and others are upset about the state's implementation of the common-core-aligned curriculum. And just over a month ago, the board of regents announced it would be setting up its own review of common core in the state. GOP Sen. John Flanagan also held his own public hearings on the standards. Soon, you may not be able to count the number of official common-core reviews in New York on one hand. New York has company. In South Dakota, for example, the Senate education committee approved a bill to institute an official study of the standards. In Tennessee, a group of GOP lawmakers are putting their own "pause" legislation together that would stop the common core, as well as the associated assessments from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. And don't forget, there's a bill from a Republican lawmaker in Indiana that would extend the state's current review of the standards until 2015. Right now, it's set to end this upcoming summer. That's assuming the standards survive that long, given recent remarks from Gov. Mike Pence. -ANDREW UJIFUSA Philip Scott Andrews for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 29, 2014

Education Week - January 29, 2014
Ruling Raises Internet-Access Concerns
Cheating Case Implicates Phila. Educators
Graduation Disparities Loom Large
Business Groups Defend Common Standards
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Common Science Standards Are Slow to Catch On in States
Surge in Charter Schools Stirs Concerns in North Carolina
Blogs of the Week
Turnaround Program Receives Makeover In Budget Deal
Some Waiver States Feeling Common-Core Test Pinch
Needy Students, Tech Disparities at Issue
Blogs of the Week
Advocates Welcome New Federal Aid Aimed at Youngest
Collective-Bargaining Case Takes Spotlight at High Court
ANNA E. BARGAGLIOTTI: Statistics: The New ‘It’ Common-Core Subject
BEN ZIMMER & DANIELLA ROHR: Funding Students, Not Bureaucracies, For Early-Childhood Education
CLARKE L. RUBEL: Talking About a Reformation
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
LYNETTE TANNIS: Twice Punished: Education’s ‘Invisible’ Incarcerated Youths

Education Week - January 29, 2014