Only 37% of Illinois Students Passed PARCC’s Reading and Writing Assessment

Fox Illinois reported earlier this month that only 37 percent of 3rd-8th graders in Illinois passed the PARCC’s reading and writing assessment.

Nearly two-thirds of Illinois students in 3rd through 8th grade are not up to standard for reading and writing, according to the state administered PARCC test and some parents said it would be best to go back to the basics.

“Every student is different and my opinion is if you really want to show a difference in any kind of testing at all, turn the classroom back over to the teachers, let the teachers teach, get the testing out,” Mike Foster, parent of an Illinois student said.

But not all agree that the testing should be what the standard is based upon for students to be considered.

“Minimize the standardized testing. It’s ok to have certain guidelines and make sure they’re adhering to certain minimal guidelines. But overall just let the teachers teach,” Foster said. Administrators said they are working hard to make sure their students don’t run into similar problems so every student can be ready for their future.

Predictably, the Illinois State Board of Education blamed the result on the test’s difficulty.

Read the whole article here.

Common Core is taking these students in the wrong direction. This story from Illinois brought to mind two articles that we’ve highlighted at Truth in American Education, both are from 2016, but nothing significant has happened since with the ELA standards to diminish their relevancy.

The first article was written by Jay Matthews who warned about the direction of writing instruction under Common Core in The Washington Post.

The Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates for students from low-income households, has been peeking recently at what is happening inside classrooms, an intrusion rarely done because it is expensive and tends to expose unattractive realities.

The organization collected 1,876 school assignments from six middle schools in two large urban districts in two states. The idea was to see how well English, humanities, social studies and science were being taught in the new era of the Common Core State Standards. The results are distressing and show that the instruction students are getting — particularly in writing — is deeply inadequate.

“Only four percent of all assignments reviewed pushed student thinking to higher levels,” one report said. “About 85 percent of assignments asked students to either recall information or apply basic skills and concepts as opposed to prompting for inferences or structural analysis, or doing author critiques. Many assignments show an attempt at rigor, but these are largely surface level.”

“Relevance and choice — powerful levers to engage early adolescents — are mostly missing in action,” it said. “Only two percent of assignments meet both indicators of engagement.”

Here are even more depressing numbers: 18 percent of the assignments required no writing at all. Sixty percent demanded just some note-taking, short responses or a sentence or two. Fourteen percent required students to write a single paragraph — whoopee. Only 9 percent went beyond that.

The second article was written by D’Lee Pollock-Moore, an English teacher and department chair at Warren County High School in Warrenton, Georgia,  writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Get Schooled Blog she critiqued the Common Core ELA Standards. She said the reading standards neglect to teach the basics.

The Common Core fails to teach students the basics from kindergarten through 12th grade. Foundational reading skills end in fifth grade, yet middle and high school teachers still teach foundational skills like fluency and syllabication. This lack of foundational standards in the upper grades creates an achievement gap that can never be closed.

She also addressed how Common Core addresses writing:

Not only are we missing the basics in the lower grades, but we’re also missing the foundations in middle and high school.  Students need to be taught how to write an email, how to create a blog or website, and even how to write a professional letter and resume (and not every child takes a business class to learn these skills).  Does Common Core acknowledge these necessary and fundamental skills? No. You will not find any technical writing standards in the 6-12 Common Core Curriculum. This is why we still have to teach 12th graders how to write a thank you note or how to sign their name for a legal document (don’t even get me started on the cursive writing debate — there is no cursive writing standard in Common Core).  Students used to learn key job skills in English class, but now only college-readiness standards are important. What about the future welder who needs to learn how to read a welding manual?  Are his needs not as important as the future lawyer?

Is it any wonder Illinois students (and students across the nation) are struggling?

Illinois To “Transform” Assessment

Add Illinois to the list of states that have either ditched PARCC entirely or plan to use some hybrid of it.

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois State Board of Education plans to modify the PARCC assessment for 3rd-8th graders on the heels of a recent standoff with Chicago Public Schools over the assessment, as well as, complaints from numerous school districts.

The Illinois State Board of Education plans to transform third- to eighth-grade state exams, the Tribune has learned, with a goal of shortening the tests, getting results more quickly and switching to a format that adjusts the difficulty of test questions as kids provide right or wrong answers.

“PARCC as we know it — it is obviously going to need to evolve,” said A. Rae Clementz, ISBE’s director of assessment and accountability.

PARCC, the acronym for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, had problems from the onset. School officials criticized the long hours of PARCC testing, and complaints from parents mushroomed into an opt-out movement that kept kids from getting tested. In 2015, Chicago Public Schools resisted PARCC testing and got into a standoff with the state, which threatened to yank hundreds of millions of dollars of funds from CPS. The district ultimately relented.

The state made changes to reduce time on testing and pulled PARCC from the roster of high school assessments following complaints from administrators who said the exams took away from instruction. Any PARCC changes will not affect high schools.

Meanwhile, scores on the third- to eighth-grade PARCC exams generally remained low statewide, with fewer than 40 percent of some 900,000 test-takers able to pass the reading and math exams in 2017.

PARCC’s membership has dwindled over the years to the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico. When New Jersey officially leaves PARCC only five states and the District of Columbia will remain in a consortium that once boasted 25 states and DC. Illinois has not made any announcement about leaving the consortium, and if they are still using PARCC in its entirety for the 11th grade they probably won’t.

Colorado recently left PARCC, but do still purchase some PARCC test items. Louisiana and Massachusettes offer a hybrid assessment. So when Illinois makes it change it will leave two states and D.C who use it in its entirety.

Republicans Resist Requiring Illinois Schools to Teach Cursive

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

One of the criticisms of the Common Core English language arts standards is how it did not include standards for teaching cursive. Illinois lawmakers want to require schools in their state to teach cursive, and Republicans have fought against that. Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, even vetoed a bill that was passed, but the Illinois Legislature is poised to override that video.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Among the losses state lawmakers dealt Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday was one over a signature issue: Whether the state should require schools to teach cursive writing.

Rauner vetoed a bill to enact such a requirement, and the Illinois Housevoted to override him on Wednesday. The Senate would have to follow suit when it returns next month for the proposal to become law.

In pushing for one mandatory cursive unit in elementary schools, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch said children need to be able to read documents the Founding Fathers wrote, as well as notes from grandma. And there was a political angle to making sure kids could sign their names too.

“Can sign your driver’s license. Can sign your passport,” the Hillside Democrat said. “Can sign a petition to run for office.”

Some Republican lawmakers contended requiring the teaching of at least one unit of cursive amounts to another Illinois mandate on local schools that doesn’t come with any state money to pay for it.

Rep. Sue Scherer said during debate that it was so clear that kids should be taught cursive that there shouldn’t even be a debate.

“It’s unbelievable we’re even having this discussion,” said the Decatur Democrat.

Considering that some Republicans, including Governor Rauner, have done next to nothing about repealing the standards, it is mindboggling to me that this is even up for debate.

They are worried about cost? How much did the state spend to implement Common Core and PARCC? Compared to that implementing a unit of cursive is peanuts.

This doesn’t make any sense at all. Kids should know how to write and, more importantly, read cursive. Writing cursive is beneficial for the development of their fine motor skills. This should be a no-brainer, but it probably does not fit into the workforce development scheme that it seems many Republicans, especially Chamber Republicans, have bought into.

Why teach them cursive when they’ll be working on computers and tablets at work? They won’t need cursive for the 21st Century Economy!

Kudos to Illinois Democrats for pushing this bill, now if we can only get them to repeal Common Core and replace them with quality standards.

ESSA Feedback Process Still Nit-picky After So-Called Change

Last month we pointed out that the U.S. Department of Education changed the process on how they provided feedback for state accountability plans. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ team provided the District of Columbia and Illinois feedback on their state accountability plans under this new process and it doesn’t appear that the Department is any less “nit-picky” than before when states complained.

Both were told by Acting Assitant Secretary Jason Botel to revise and resubmit their plans.

The District of Columbia was told:

  • They could not use ACT or SAT in its academic achievement indicators. They were told they can only use the annual assessment required under ESSA. (Which would be PARCC.)
  • Their alternate graduation rate calculation didn’t meet ESSA requirements.
  • They said the DC plan for how they will measure differentiating school performance was not clear.
  • They wanted more detail on how the District of Columbia would intervene with schools where fewer than 2/3 of their students graduate.
  • They need a definition for “consistently underperforming” subgroups. They said DC “includes some description of its methodology because it does not include a complete description, stating only that it will identify a school that ‘repeatedly falls below the threshold’ without describing that threshold, OSSE has not fully described its methodology for identifying these schools.”
  • They said DC’s exit criteria for “Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools” did not “ensure continued progress in improved student academic achievement and school success.”

Illinois was told:

  • They could not use an 8th-grade math exception because they are not administering an end-of-course assessment as its high school assessment.
  • They said Illinois has not fully described their graduate rate indicator. They also said the Illinois State Board of Education did not “identify and describe long-term goals for each extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate that are more rigorous than the long- term goals set for the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.”
  • They said the Illinois State Board of Education “provides a long-term goal and measurements of interim progress for the percentage of English learners “making targets,” but does not describe what it means to “make targets” and whether making targets accounts for progress in achieving English language proficiency.”
  • They are uncertain about how test participation in Illinois will factor into measuring achievement.
  • They do not meet the federal timeline for its implementation of its measures of progress for determining English language proficiency.
  • They do not meet the required timeline for identifying low-performing schools for comprehensive support and improvement.
  • It is unclear whether the Illinois State Board of Education meets the statutory requirements for identification of schools with consistently underperforming subgroups because it does not include a definition of “consistently underperforming.”
  • Illinois did not provide more information about the rate in which low income and non-low income students and minority/non-minority students are taught by ineffective, out-of-field, and inexperienced teachers.

I just wanted to remind you again that the Every Student Succeeds Act was supposed to provide more state control and flexibility.

What a joke.

HT: EdWeek

Elementary Students in Chicago Get to Double Down on Assessments

Elementary-aged students in Chicago Public Schools get to double down on standardized assessments the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

So Chicago’s third- through eighth-graders will continue to take both the NWEA test CPS uses for school rating and teacher evaluation purposes, as well as the PARCC test required by the Illinois State Board of Education, chief education officer Janice Jackson told parents in a letter late Friday.

“CPS plans to continue to use the NWEA MAP exam for students in 2nd through 8th grade for at least another year to ensure consistency in our accountability measurements, pending Board approval,” Jackson wrote. “With the PARCC expiring next year, CPS is not willing to put all our stakes in that assessment until we see a longer-term commitment from the state of Illinois.”

NWEA MAP — or the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress — will also continue to count for selective enrollment admissions next year as promotion in grades three, six and eight, she said.

The decision is costly for the cash-strapped district, which officials say spent $2.2 million on NWEA this school year.

This just seems to be a colossal waste of money and instructional time.

This Is One Reason Why Standardized Tests Aren’t Effective

Photo source:

If you really believe that standardized testing can help teachers better teach to their students’ weaknesses then they probably need results back sooner than a year.

From the Chicago Tribune/Naperville Sun:

Schools will have to wait until at least summer 2017 to get the results of the state science tests students took in 2016.

As high school biology students in Indian Prairie District 204 begin taking the Illinois Science Assessment this week, Superintendent Karen Sullivan said schools will push ahead despite the district having no idea how students performed when they took the assessment last spring.

“That makes it really useful to be able to know how to adapt to your instruction and your curriculum when you know what the results were,” said Sullivan at a recent board meeting.

Illinois State Board of Education officials said districts should see assessment results this summer.

This summer? Gee, thanks….

I realize that this is an extreme example, but every standardized assessment has lag time, and ultimately is not helpful in fine tuning individual instruction. Sure lessons could possibly be learned in the aggregate, but just because one class had a particular weakness it doesn’t mean the next class will be the same.

Anyway if this is a reason to push standardized testing those who advocate for it should be honest about its limitations. Parents would do well to opt their students out of these assessments that are ineffective and that waste time that is better spent teaching.

(2nd Update) 2017 Legislation on Standards, Assessments, and Data Privacy

States with relevant legislation.

Updated on 2/21/17 – see Kentucky and West Virginia.

A couple years ago I published a list of active bills in various statehouses related to Common Core and its aligned assessments. Over the two years I just included a tag for a particular year’s bills so people could click on that to check on the bills that we had written on. Needless to say we didn’t keep up very well so I’m bringing this back.

This is a list that I will update of filed legislation in state houses across the United States dealing with academic standards, local control, assessments and data privacy. My intention is just to give a bill number, a link to the bill, and a brief description of the bill and the last action on the bill. Inclusion on this list does not mean we support the particular bill, but only that our readers in each state should be aware of it, read it, and decide whether they should support or oppose it.  I plan to keep this list as updated as possible. Individual write-ups on different bills can be found at “2017 Bills.” If I missed a bill just shoot me an email with the bill number at


SB1314 – A bill that seeks to tighten student data privacy. Last action: Passed out of Senate Education Committee.


HB06839 – An Act Concerning A Review And Report On The Implementation Of The Student Data Privacy Act. Last action: Referred to the Joint Committee on Education.

HB06769 – To amend the student data privacy act of 2016. Last action: Referred to Joint Committee on Education.

There are several identical bills related to allowing a one year delay in the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act of 2016. Here is one example.


S 0584 – Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc. Last action: Filed.


SB 0536 – Replaces the ISTEP test program with an assessment program using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, as appropriate for the grade level being tested. Repeals a statute establishing the ISTEP program citizens’ review committee. Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Repeals an expiration provision. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Assigned to Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

HB1003 – Replaces the ISTEP test program after June 30, 2018, with a new statewide assessment program to be known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN). Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Referred to the House Committee on Education.


HB0332 – Amends the School Code to add provisions concerning student data privacy. Amends the Illinois School Student Records Act. Makes changes to the definition provisions. Sets forth provisions allowing disclosure of student records to researchers at an accredited post-secondary educational institution or an organization conducting research if specified requirements are met. Amends the Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act to change the definition of “child” to mean a person under the age of 18 (instead of 16). Last action: Referred to the House Judiciary-Civil Committee.


HJR 3 – A constitutional amendment that proposes “to provide home rule powers and authority for school districts.” Last action: Introduced into the House Education Committee (My write-up)

HF 26 – The bill authorizes a school board to exercise any broad or implied power, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, related to the operation, control, and supervision of the public schools located within its district boundaries. Last action: Assigned a subcommittee. (My write-up)

SF 30 – This bill eliminates references and requirements to the Iowa Common Core or core curriculum or core content standards in the Iowa Code, but continues to direct the state board of education to adopt high school graduation requirements and assessment standards. It also creates a new task force for the development of a new assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 139 – Requires any statewide assessment to be developed by the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa. It would prohibit the use of Smarter Balanced or PARCC as a statewide, mandatory assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 140 – Makes the Common Core math and English language arts (ELA) standards that have been adopted into the Iowa Core voluntary for Iowa’s public and state accredited non-public schools. Repeals Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: introduced into the House Education Committee. (My write-up)

SSB 1001 – Repeals the requirement for the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring a statewide assessment starting in July 1, 2017 that is aligned to the Iowa Common Core Standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.


SB 1 – This bill would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers. Last action: Passed Kentucky Senate 35-0 (see write-up).


LD412 – An Act To Require the Completion of Courses of Study in Home Economics and Industrial Arts Education Prior to Graduation from High School. Last action: N/A

LD 322 – An Act To Reintroduce Civics to High School Graduation Requirements. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD49 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: Passed by the House, being considered by the Senate.


HB 705 – Authorizing a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow the child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment or its equivalent in a public school; and requiring that the refusal be documented in the Individualized Education Program of the child. Last action: Assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 461 – Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt regulations limiting the amount of time in the aggregate that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade to 2% of the specified minimum required annual instructional hours; prohibiting time devoted to teacher-selected classroom quizzes and exams, portfolio reviews, or performance assessments from being counted toward the specified testing time limits; etc. Last action: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.


HB 4192 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 – 380.1852) by adding secs. 1278e & 1278f. Last action: Referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and will have a hearing on 2/15/17.

SB 0081 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends sec. 1278 of 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1278) & adds secs. 1278e, 1278f & 1278. Last action: Before Senate Government Operations Committee.


HB502 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Making Application To The United States Department Of Education Seeking A Waiver Or Request For Funding That Would Require A Revision Of The State Subject Matter Curriculum Aligned With The K-12 Common Core State Standards Developed By The Common Core State Standards Initiative; To Authorize The Board To Request Authority From The United States Department Of Education To Revise Curriculum Requirements That Condition Receipt Of Funding Or Waivers Upon The Board’s Action To Revise The Curriculum To Align With The K-12 Common Core State Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee

SB2035 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2593 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB357 – An Act To Provide For The Repeal Of The Common Core State Standards Curriculum Adopted By The State Board Of Education And To Prohibit Any Further Implementation Or Use Of Such Standards; To Restrict The Use Of The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc), Or Any Other Assessment Related To Or Based On The Common Core State Standards, As The Required Assessment Required Under The Statewide Testing Program; To Require The State Superintendent Of Public Education And The State Board Of Education To Initiate Procedures To Withdraw From The Parcc Consortium; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum And Academic Content Standards; To Provide That No Curriculum Standards Developed Outside The State Of Mississippi May Be Adopted Or Implemented Without Public Hearings Held In Each Congressional District, A One-year Open Comment Period And Open Hearings Before A Joint Committee Composed Of The House And Senate Education Committees, Followed By An Act Of The Legislature; To Impose Restrictions Upon The State Department Of Education With Regards To The Expenditure Of Certain Funds And Disclosing Personally Identifiable Information Pertaining To Students And Teachers; To Amend Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity Thereto; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2581 – An Act To Authorize And Direct Public School Districts To Allow Parents And Legal Guardians Of Enrolled Students To Opt Out Of Common Core Aligned Curricula, Certain Student Data And The Release Of Information Concerning Their Children’s Personal Beliefs; To Prescribe A Form For The Student Privacy Protection Opt-out Request By The Parent Or Legal Guardian; To Direct The State Board Of Education To Issue Regulations Consistent With The Student Data Confidentiality Provisions Of This Act; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB279 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education And The State Department Of Education From Taking Any Further Action To Implement The Common Core And Mississippi College And Career Readiness Standards; To Require The State Board Of Education To Adhere To Pre-existing Procedures Under Its Apa To Review And Revise Our Curriculum Standards As Applicable Within Our Board Policies Beginning With Mathematics And English In 2017; To Prohibit The State Board And State Department Of Education From Expending Certain Federal Funds To Track Students Beyond Their K-12 Education And To Distribute Certain Student Identifiable Information; To Amend Section 37-17-6, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Delete References To Common Core And To Delete The Requirement That The State Department Of Education Form A Single Accountability System By Combining The State System With The Federal System; To Bring Forward Section 37-177-5, Mississippi Code Of 1972, For The Purpose Of Possible Amendments; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB601 – An Act To Create New Section 37-16-2, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Require The State Board Of Education To Contract With A Single Entity For The Development And Administration Of The Act Aspire Assessment Components As The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Program For Public School Students In Grades 3-10 As Well As Algebra I And English Ii, Which Is Aligned To The Mississippi College And Career-ready Standards; To Require The State Department Of Education To Provide A Job Skills Assessment System That Allows Students To Earn A Nationally Recognized Career Readiness Certificate Credentialing Workplace Employability Skills; To Require The Act Aspire As The Statewide Assessment Program To Be Fully Implemented In All Public Schools In The 2017-2018 School Year; To Amend Sections 37-16-1, 37-16-3, 37-16-4, 37-16-5, 37-16-7, 37-16-9 And 37-16-17, Mississippi Code Of 1972, Which Relate To The Statewide Testing Program, And Sections 37-3-49, 37-15-38, 37-17-6, 37-18-1, 37-18-3, 37-20-5, 37-20-7 And 37-28-45, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity To The Preceding Provisions Of This Act; To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Contracting With Any Entity For The Development Of A Statewide Assessment Whose Alignment Of Curriculum And Testing Standards Are In Compliance With The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc) Without Express Legislative Authority; To Amend Section 37-16-11, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Provide For The Issuance Of A Standard Diploma To Certain Exceptional Children With Intellectual Impairments Who Have Ieps Upon Meeting The Educational Requirements Of Their Iep And Those Established By The State Board Of Education; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

There are additional bills, some are repetitive, they have all been killed in committee.

New Hampshire

SB 44 – Prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

HB 207 – Prohibiting the implementation of common core in public elementary and secondary schools. Last action: Hearing scheduled for 2/14/17.

New Jersey

A2650 – Requires high school students to be assessed using college placement cut scores to determine readiness for college-level course work, and Commissioner of Education to develop plan to improve college and career counseling for students. Last action: To Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A10121 – Requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide to parents or guardians of enrolled students information on certain tests to be administered during the school year. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

New Mexico

HB211 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last Action: Referred to House Education Committee.

New York

A03702/S03912 – Requires disclosure of testing items in Common Core tests given in New York (50% after the first year the test is given, full disclosure after the second year.) Last action: Assigned to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01098 – Establishes the common core state standards evaluation task force for the purpose of studying the implementation of the common core state standards; requires such task force report to the Governor and Legislature. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01719 – Relates to teacher evaluations and implementation of the common core learning standards. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

S02091 – Enacts the common core parental refusal act. Last action: Assigned to Senate Education Committee.

A03644 – Relates to creating the commission on exceptional standards for New York state. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

A03623 – Relates to the common core state standards initiative. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

S01942 – Allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain testing. Last action: Referred to Senate Education Committee.

A02312 – Relates to establishing the standardized testing transparency act; makes an appropriation therefor. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

North Dakota

HB 1432 – Repeals Common Core. Last action: Reported back, do not pass, placed on calendar (My write-up on the bill is here)


HB2368 – Prohibits Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2017. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB2587 – Modifies state educational goals to take into consideration students’ aspirations, to provide students with well-rounded education and to provide students with sufficient instructional time to meet students’ educational goals. Expands state’s mission of education beyond high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 2229 – Requires school districts to offer instruction in financial literacy. Directs school districts and public charter schools to offer sufficient instruction in financial literacy to ensure that every student who elects to receive instruction in financial literacy is able to receive instruction. Takes effect July 1, 2018. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

South Dakota

SB 126 – This bill requires the South Dakota Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.


SB 605 – Allows public review and removal of Common Core-aligned curriculum. Last action: Filed.

HB 1069 – Relating to compliance with prohibitions regarding the use of common core state standards in public schools. Last action: Filed.


HB1012 – Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 1046 – Eliminates requirement to pass state assessments to graduate. Allows multiple options. Last action: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1415 – To simplify existing state assessment requirements and administer the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading or language arts, mathematics, and science; and (2) For the administration of the ACT test to be for federal accountability purposes and does not intend for the ACT test to be used in determining whether a student is eligible to graduate from high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB1793 – Increasing academic rigor and streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. (This bill entrenches Smarter Balanced in Washington.) Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

SB 5202/HB 1572 – Directs OSPI to seek approval of using SAT or ACT in place of the SBAC assessments. If approved by the feds, the ELA/Math and Science portions of the national tests can be used in place for graduation purposes. SBE sets the cutoff score for passing. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

SB5673/HB1886 – Moves the responsiblity for setting standards and assessments from the Washington State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

West Virginia

HB 2144 – A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-1A-1, §18-1A-2, §18-1A-3, §18-1A-4 and §18-1A-5, all relating to academic content standards in public schools; discontinuing and prohibiting the use of Common Core academic content standards; adopting alternative academic content standards; discontinuing the use of Common Core based assessments; establishing a committee and process for developing alternate statewide assessments of student progress; prohibiting the state board or any public school from sharing student data without parental consent; and prohibiting acceptance of federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon sharing student data without parental consent. Last action: Referred to the House of Delegate’s Education and Finance Committees.

SB 18 – This would change West Virginia’s assessment from Smarter Balanced to ACT (for 11th graders) and ACT Aspire (for 3rd-8th graders). Last action: Referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

HB 2443 – This bill repeals Common Core and replaces it with the 2001 Massachusetts ELA Standards and the 2005 California math standards. Last action: Referred to the House Education and Finance Committees


HB0008 – AN ACT relating to education; amending requirements of state data security plan to ensure privacy of student data collected; requiring policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data by school districts; accordingly requiring school districts to adopt and enforce policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data; and providing for an effective date. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Education Committee

Illinois Lawmaker: State Graduation Rates Reflect Change Needed with Common Core


Illinois State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Springfield) told the East Central Reporter that due to the drop in Illinois’ graduation rates a change needs to happen with Common Core.

Regarding whether Illinois should follow the significant number of states that have dropped out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which develop the CCSS tests, Phillips said there needs to be a thorough review of the program. He also stressed the need to hear from educators and parents on what they believe is best for students.

“As with other programs in the state, Illinois needs a comprehensive review of programs that have been newly enacted,” Phillips told the East Central Reporter. “It’s time we start to get the people involved in the decision making process that specifically effects them.”…

….Phillips said he believes changes do need to be made to the CCSS — and that the state’s graduation rates reflect that need. He explained the option to sit back and do nothing is not an option that he sees as viable.

“I do think there needs to be changes to the program in that our graduation rates are not acceptable,” Phillips said. “We can and must do better for our students and for preparing them for their futures. We have a few choices when it comes to education: we can scrap the program as a whole, work to make changes to the existing program or do nothing. I am not a do-nothing guy.”

Hopefully Illinois parents can see some tangible action taken against Common Core, but it is an uphill battle in that state.


Chicagoland Mom Upset PARCC Wasn’t Dropped for Grades 3-8


I shared earlier this week that the Illinois State Board of Education dropped PARCC for high school students in favor of SAT. A Chicagoland mom who goes by “MBA Mom” at Chicago Now complains that PARCC wasn’t dropped for 3rd – 8th graders as well.

I don’t blame her. She writes:

That’s great if your kid is in high school. One less test for them to stress over. Plus they can take the SAT for free.

It’s not great if you’re like me, with a child in grades 3 through 8. I have a rising third grader so this year will be my son’s first time taking PARCC unless I figure out a way to opt him out.

Speaking of which, I have learned this in my two years in Illinois: if you want a Facebook post to generate hundreds of comments in the space of a couple of hours, all you have to do is join your town’s moms page and ask, “How do I opt my child out of PARCC?”

This Tribune article sheds more light on the decision with quotes like this one, “At the high school level, the PARCC exams took away from key instruction time, school administrators said.”

Okay, so we’ve now acknowledged PARCC is a waste of time in high school. But by leaving the testing requirement for grades 3 though 8, does that imply it’s okay to take away ‘key instruction time’ from elementary and middle school students?

Well, it’s not okay. I think the curve is now steeper for elementary school students, especially those coming out of half-day Kindergarten, when it comes to learning and mastering Common Core language arts and math. So many kids are struggling. They need the classroom time.

Read the rest.

Illinois High School Students Will Take SAT Instead of PARCC


This week the Illinois State Board of Education decided that high school students will not have to take the PARCC assessment, they will have to take the SAT instead.

The State Journal-Register reports:

Students in third through eighth grades will continue to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessment.

The SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Achievement Test) will be provided to schools at no extra cost and will be offered to students during the school day, the state agency said.

“District and school administrators overwhelmingly agree with ISBE that every high school junior should have access to a college entrance exam, a policy that promotes equity and access and that provides each and every student with greater opportunities in higher education,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a statement. “The SAT is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards and will continue to empower educators to measure college and career readiness.”

The state board said it made the change in response to listening to different stakeholders, including students, parents, educators, administrators and advocacy groups.

Those groups emphasized the need for equitable access to a college entrance exam and scaling back on the amount of testing time and number of assessments given, the board said.

Just two years ago, the PARCC exam replaced the Illinois State Achievement Test and Prairie State Achievement Exam, with claims that PARCC was a better way to prepare students for college and careers because it was aligned with federal Common Core standards.

Illinois reportedly spent $57 million to get the initiative off the ground.

But the test had many critics from the get-go who felt it was being rolled out too quickly, didn’t produce quality data and that the results weren’t accepted by colleges. Across Illinois, many high school students refused to take the test.

News that the state is dropping PARCC in high schools was met with praise, and also surprise, Monday from local school superintendents.

Read the rest.

The only good news is that this is one less assessment high school students will have to take. As for having to take the SAT, I was never a fan of the assessment before David Coleman took over the College Board, and he didn’t make any improvements. Now the state of Illinois is showing favoritism toward one college entrance exam.