Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 19)
tate curriculum (e.g., textbooks
and reading lists) or prescribe a
method of instruction.”
Mr. Huffman said he’s also lobbied to shore up common-core support among state legislators.
In an op-ed essay earlier this
month in The Tennessean, in Nashville, state Sen. Dolores Gresham,
a Republican and the chairwoman
of the Senate education committee,
said the standards would reverse
the state’s history of having students perform well on state assessments but poorly on national tests
that ask more of them.
Continue the Collaboration
States should remember how they
collaborated to develop the standards and work to share best practices about keeping the standards
politically viable and putting them
into effect, argued Dane Linn, a vice
president of the Business Roundtable who also oversaw work on the
common core at the nga.
“It’s important to be patient, to
not be alarmist, and to support
states as they implement these
standards,” Mr. Linn said.
Still, the private sector is responding to what some supporters
see as ominous developments.
For example, Business Leaders
for Michigan, a nonprofit group
of private-sector leaders in that
state, sent an open letter to state
political leaders on May 2, urging
them to stand by the new standards, after the state House of
Representatives passed a budget
last month that would defund the
“Adopting the common
core gives us even a better way of seeing how
well we’re doing. And
for the amount of
money we’re spending on public
education, we should want that,”
Doug Rothwell, the president and
ceo of Business Leaders for Michigan, said in an interview.
Both Mr. Rothwell and Mr. Linn
said they were somewhat surprised
by the ability of what they deemed
small groups of opponents to get political traction. But groups outside
the private sector are being proactive as well—before Mr. Snyder’s
May 6 remarks, Education Trust’s
Midwest affiliate, which advocates
for a focus on transparent data and
student achievement, also stressed
in a May 2 statement the broad
support for the standards, including the state pta.
But supporters also were jolted
by the Republican National Committee’s decision last month to oppose the standards, said Chester E.
Finn Jr., the president of the procommon-core Thomas B. Fordham
Institute in Washington.
“Some people have suddenly discovered that they might need a few
people with at least faint Republican credentials besides [former
Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush to say that
the common core is a good thing,”
he said. He added that he thought
conservative efforts in state legislatures posed the bigger threat to the
common standards, compared with
opposition from the political left.
Standards supporters are also becoming more active on the airwaves.
Stand for Children Indiana, a
pro-common-core group, which
The House of Representatives
approved a budget last month that
would defund implementation of
the common core. However, Gov.
Rick Snyder, a Republican, reiterated
his support for the standards in an
appearance with U.S. Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan on May 6.
Groups such as Ohioans Against
Common Core and Education
Freedom Ohio have held public
meetings in recent months to
denounce the standards and stepped
up pressure on state lawmakers to
force Ohio to drop them.
Local groups critical of the
common core have held meetings
in opposition, sometimes featuring
opponents from national groups.
In support of the standards, the state
education department has published
a history of the common core in
the state and basic information
about the standards. Tennessee’s
State Collaborative on Reforming
Education, a group drawn from
the business and philanthropic
communities, has also intensified its
efforts to support the standards.
SOURCE: Education Week
> > Sign up for the Common Core
supports broad early-education
opportunities and charter schools,
released two different 30-second
TV advertisements, one on March 5
and another on April 16, defending
the standards. The campaign also
included radio spots.
A spokesman for the group, Jay
Kenworthy, declined to disclose
how much it spent on the ads and
said it hadn’t decided whether to
renew the public relations push
when common-core hearings get
underway in Indiana this summer.
That state is also ground zero for
a pro-common-core argument aimed
at a liberal audience: that many of
the loudest common-core opponents
hold other political views that the
audience would find abhorrent.
For example, Larry Grau, the
director of the Indiana affiliate
of Democrats for Education Reform, or dfer, wrote on the group’s
blog April 23 that gop Sen. Scott
Schneider wants schools to teach
creationism and has sought to
make enforcement of President
Barack Obama’s Affordable Care
Act a felony. Dfer Indiana has also
used language that warned about
“bedfellows” in the anti-commoncore movement that could cause
someone to say, “I hate myself for
this in the morning.” Mr. Grau said
he wanted the group’s rhetoric to
be “a little edgy.”
He argued that Democrats suspicious of other policy proposals,
like vouchers, should not let those
views lead them to lash out at the
common core. “They’re not thinking
before they’re saying who they’re
partnering with on the common
MAY 15, 2013
core,” Mr. Grau said in an interview.
Others make an economic argument in favor of the standards.
Legislators weighing whether to
ditch the common core should keep
in mind that education technology providers already have been
designing products based on the
standards, said Bob Wise, the former governor of West Virginia who
is now president of the Washingtonbased Alliance for Excellent Education, which works to improve high
school graduation rates.
He argued it would end up costing states more to backtrack than
to implement the common core.
The federal government has provided $360 million to support two
consortia of states developing common-core-based assessments.
But without new federal enticements to follow through and implement the common core, supporters
don’t have much gas left in the tank,
argued Jim Stergios, the president
of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, which opposes the standards
and has sent representatives to forums in Tennessee and elsewhere.
“Michigan wasn’t even on our
radar screen,” he said. “A lot of representatives and senators are starting to feel the heat.”
Parents, in particular, are also
catching on to the “propaganda”
coming from corporate and foundation-based common-core supporters, said Julie Woestehoff, a
co-founder of the Chicago-based
Parents Across America, a pro-
gressive-oriented group that is
concerned about the common core’s
(She is also executive director of
Parents United for Responsible
Education, located in Chicago.)
“What we’re seeing is people with
a lot of money throwing money at
a pr problem that they see happening,” she said.
But Mr. Minnich of the ccsso
maintains that there is a broad consensus in support of the common
core that isn’t fracturing and that
wants implementation to continue.
On this front, the ge Foundation
has traveled to districts to discuss
work on the standards, and has
helped the Erie school district in
Pennsylvania, for example, travel
to receive additional common-core
training. (The ge Foundation provides grant support for Education
Week’s coverage of college- and
career-ready standards’ implementation.)
“Implementation is critical. ... Simply adopting a set of standards isn’t
going to make things better,” Mr.
Use an interactive bill-status tracker to
explore efforts in various state
legislatures to limit or withdraw from
the Common Core State Standards
initiative. You can also find a short
synopsis and a timeline of recent
actions for each bill. www.edweek.
Impact Mulled on Waivers, Grants
By Michele McNeil
As several states debate whether to continue
participation in the common core, a consideration
for policymakers is that dropping out of the multistate academic-standards effort could jeopardize
federal waivers and competitive grants.
Central to the No Child Left Behind Act waivers
given by the U.S. Department of Education and to
the federal Race to the Top grants is the requirement that states adopt and implement college- and
career-readiness standards, and tie appropriate
tests to them. Involvement in the common-core
initiative and one of the federally funded consortia
devising common-core-aligned tests is not required,
but it’s the most direct route to satisfying the requirement—and the one most states are taking.
Adopting the Common Core State Standards
and taking part in the upcoming common tests
are what Indiana promised to do when it secured
its waiver under the nclb law, the current version
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Those waivers allow states to get out from
under some requirements of the law, such as
that 100 percent of students be proficient in
reading and math by the end of the 2013-14
school year, in exchange for adopting certain
education improvement ideas.
In Indiana, for example, it’s unclear what will
happen now that the state legislature has voted
to delay further implementation of the common
standards for a year, pending hearings and a
review by the state board of education. What’s
more, state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz,
a Democrat and common-core skeptic who unseated Republican Tony Bennett last year, says
the state also may drop out of the common-testing
consortium known as parcc, or Partnership for
Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
In an interview, however, Ms. Ritz said she’s
committed to keeping Indiana’s nclb waiver and
has been in close contact with federal education
officials about the issue.
“I love the flexibility,” Ms. Ritz said. “We are
intent on keeping our waiver. That’s the goal.”
A state that wants to change its waiver plans
must go through a federal amendment process.
At a minimum, any significant changes to common-core implementation would require a formal
review by federal officials as part of that process.
As for Indiana, federal Education Department
spokesman Daren Briscoe said federal officials
generally do not comment on specific legislation.
But “Indiana needs to fulfill its commitments
under esea flexibility, including implementing
college- and career-ready standards in 2013-14,”
he said. “We’re in close contact with the state
educational agency to provide them guidance
and technical assistance.”
That federal amendment process will become
closely watched if states back out of the common
core. The Michigan legislature, for instance, is
debating whether to defund common-core implementation. Michigan has a waiver.
If a state does not adopt the common core, the
other acceptable way to prove its standards are
college- and career-ready is to have its system of
higher education deem them so.
And if a state doesn’t participate in a testing
consortium, it must submit to the federal Education Department its plan for developing tests to
align with those standards and furnish the tests
to federal officials for review. So far, Virginia is
the only state that hasn’t adopted the common
core or common tests but has gotten a waiver.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 15, 2013
Education Week - May 15, 2013
Standards Supporters Firing Back
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS: Wanted: Schools Chiefs for Big-Name Districts
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: E-Rate Programs Seen as Too Lean for a Digital Era
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Capacity Issues Confront Implementation Of Standards
News in Brief
Bar for Teacher Exams Set Low In All States, Federal Data Show
Mobile Apps Aim to Deepen Lessons From Field Trips
Studies Link Early Spatial Skills To Math Achievement
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: MOOCs Provider Targets Teacher Education
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Informal Sector Seen as Ally in Science Initiative
Head Start Centers Feel Sequestration Pain
Arizona ELL Battle Carries On, Despite Ruling
Impact Mulled on Waivers, Grants
LISA MADIGAN & JOHN SUTHERS: Moving Beyond Punishment: Treatment Is Key to Keeping Schools Safe
SARA MARTINEZ TUCKER: We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning
JENNIFER JENNINGS: An Apology To Secretary Duncan
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
RONALD J. BONNSTETTER & BILL J. BONNSTETTER: We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection
Education Week - May 15, 2013