State Accountability Plans’ Relative Silence on Common Core

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Alyson Klein writes at Education Week that Common Core is barely mentioned in the state accountability plans that states are submitting to the U.S. Department of Education.

There’s barely a whisper about the standards in the seventeen ESSA plans that have been turned in so far, an Education Week review found. That’s true even though all but two of the states who have turned in their plans are using the standards.

Of the states still using the common core, eight—Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, and North Dakota—only mention the standards once in their applications, or not at all. And Michigan’s application has the words “common core” three times, but only to talk about all the negative comments it has received about the standards. So that doesn’t really count.

And even the states that do talk about the common core don’t do it at great length. Common core comes up most often in the District of Columbia’s application, which mentions the standards just six times.

That’s a big contrast from the last round of state accountability plans—applications for the Obama administration’s waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act—which were chock full of common core references.

To be sure, states weren’t asked to go into detail about their standards in their ESSA applications. The new law requires states to set standards that get kids ready for college and/or the workforce, but the feds don’t have any say in what those standards are.

After the Obama administration boosted the common core in a couple of ways, the lawmakers who wrote ESSA tried to prevent that from happening again. The law prohibits the secretary from linking the adoption of a particular set of standards to money or flexibility.

Regarding the silence we see….

Ok, first off, this is a review of only 17 plans. Second, as Alyson mentions, states are still very much use Common Core – most states don’t use the name, however. Third, I think you see states omitting Common Core in their state plans for a couple of reasons – they don’t want to draw attention to the fact they are still using them (or a rebranded version of them). Then, as Alyson mentioned, they don’t have to go into great detail about their standards, so they don’t.

Regarding her comments about the Every Student Succeeds Act, she promotes some misconceptions. They codified Common Core advocate language in the law and then patted themselves on the back for “getting rid of Common Core.” No, they just helped Common Core stay further entrenched.

The law does prohibit the Secretary of Education from linking the adoption of a “particular set of standards to money or flexibility.” At the same time, it also gives the Secretary of Education the power to approve or reject state plans. It also requires alignment of a state’s standards with their assessments. Something that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says is an appropriate role for the federal government.

So excuse me if I don’t sing ESSA’s praises.

2 thoughts on “State Accountability Plans’ Relative Silence on Common Core

  1. Common core needs to go. The only thing it’s doing is dumbing down our kids and confusing them with bogus math. Quit the indoctrination of our kids. It’s time to go back to teaching our kids to think for themselves, to work problems through to a logical end, even if it means mistakes along the way. Our kids and our country will be better for it.


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