Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 19)

EDUCATION WEEK 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 common core. “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. Drawing Connections Standards supporters are also becoming more active on the airwaves. Stand for Children Indiana, a pro-common-core group, which MICHIGAN 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. OHIO 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. TENNESSEE 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 e-newsletter. go/newsletters 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 n 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. Opposition Persists 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- n 19 gressive-oriented group that is concerned about the common core’s standardized-testing requirements. (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. Minnich said. EXIT STRATEGY: 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. org/go/billtracker 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.” Review Process 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
Report Roundup
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
Policy Brief
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