States Fighting Back

J.R. Wilson has updated our map.
https://www.box.com/embed/4fnfm9je5l8qusm.swf

The Pending Rejection states are so marked as a result of serious discussion or action taken towards withdrawing from the Common Core State Standards, withdrawing from PARCC or SBAC, delaying implementation of standards or assessments, or not funding the implementation.  The discussions or actions considered include public forums, legislative bills, and hearings on state legislative floors in 2012 or 2013.

Alabama

Colorado

Florida 

Georgia

Idaho

Indiana

Kansas

Michigan

Missouri

Oklahoma

South Carolina

South Dakota

Utah

**Minnesota appears on the map as having rejected the CCSS. MN did not adopt the CCSS for Mathematics.

Check here for links to groups actively working to stop the Common Core State Standards implementation and related issues.

S.C. State Senator Mike Fair Warns About Common Core Testing

South Carolina State Senator Mike Fair (R-Greenville) wrote an op/ed for The State where he warned that South Carolina could regret their new student testing scheme via the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) that accompanies the state’s adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

He writes:

We belong to a consortium of states called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which the federal government is paying to develop computerized tests aligned with the national standards. An examination of the Smarter Balanced scheme suggests that our students, our teachers and our pocketbooks may be in for hard times.

The person directing the tests’ content development is Linda Darling-Hammond, a longtime proponent of politicized education (with the emphasis on teaching for “social justice” and “multiculturalism”) and Barack Obama’s education advisor during the 2008 campaign.

Perhaps because she strongly opposes traditional standardized tests, the Smarter Balanced tests will be “innovative” and “computer adaptive.” This means that depending on the student’s answers to the first questions, the computer will feed the student either easier or harder questions as the test goes forward. Correct answers result in harder questions; wrong answers generate easier questions.

This computer-adaptive feature diminishes a primary argument made by Common Core proponents: that we must be able to compare student performance across states. Because students will be given different questions depending on their previous answers, they will essentially be taking different tests. The performance of Sarah in Easley can’t be compared to that of Mary in Topeka; it can’t even be compared to that of William at the next desk. Smarter Balanced may devise some rubric to allow rough comparisons, but a meaningful one-to-one comparison won’t be possible.

Another feature touted by Smarter Balanced is “performance tasks,” which will involve a student’s extended time, either individually or as part of a group, on multi-step problems that result in completed projects. Every parent of bright, motivated children has heard them complain about being stuck in a project group with slackers and having to do all the work. Now, that scenario will be repeated on national high-stakes tests.

He also cites the cost of testing due to the technology requirement necessary for implementation.  Not many people are really talking about the testing involved so it is great that he’s bring this up in his state.  Be sure to read the whole article.

GOP Divided on ObamaCore

It is so good for EdWeek to point out that yes there is dissention in the ranks.  Not all Republicans have bought into Governor Jeb Bush’s vision of education reform, as far as, national standards are concerned.

On the one hand, there’s Jeb Bush, a key Romney surrogate and the former GOP governor of Florida. He points out that a majority of GOP governors have embraced the standards. And then you’ve got Gayle Ruzeicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, and a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

“We call it Obama Core,” she told me in an interview on the convention floor Monday, an obvious play on “Obamacare,” GOP activists’ name for the president’s landmark health care law. “It’s been co-opted by the Obama administration. They’ve done everything they can to tie us into these standards. We’re Republicans and we’re letting Obama take over our education system.”

They talked to S.C. State Senator Mike Fair:

Still, some state lawmakers—including Sen. Mike Fair of South Carolina, an attendee here—are trying to get their states to dump the standards, or at least delay their implementation, arguing that they’ve got too much of a federal stamp.

Another Utah activist was also interviewed:

The Republican party platform embraces high standards, but is silent on the common core, to the disappointment of some GOP activists. Christel Swasey, a former high school English teacher from Utah, submitted anti-common core language to a portion of the RNC website soliciting ideas for the platform from voters around the country. Swasey’s language was never formally introduced in the platform committee, she told me. But it made its way to the inboxes of delegates at the convention who are skeptical of common core.

She’s disappointed that Mitt Romney hasn’t come out against the standards. His position, as outlined in a white paper, is that states should be free to work together to create rigorous standards. But he doesn’t mention common core by name.

Swasey found that disappointing. “I thought that was really strange,” she said, noting that the standards are going to have a “transformative” impact on K-12. Then, she said, she found out that some of Romney’s campaign surrogates (including Bush) support the standards. “There’s a real divide in the Republican party over common core,” she said.

Indiana Education Chief Admits Obama Hijacked Common Core

Tony Bennett, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Education, was cornered at a Tea Party gathering in Indiana last week.  Russ Pulliam, blogging at the Indianapolis Star gives an account of the exchange:

Bennett is usually locked in debates with advocates for traditional approaches to public education. But this argument was different. Bennett played defense on behalf of a set of academic standards called the Common Core, which many tea party advocates see as yet another example of the federal government’s overreach.

The temperature in the room rose as Bennett took one question after another from the audience at the White River Yacht Club. He contended that the Common Core is a state-driven initiative, but one that was hijacked by the power-hungry Obama administration.

“I’m a strong conservative and I believe in states’ rights,” he told the gathering of about 100 tea party members.

Bennett pointed out that the Common Core’s standards originated with the National Governors Association, and were intended for voluntary adoption by states. Then, according to Bennett, Obama nationalized the standards and has tried to use federal clout to force the Common Core on the states.

“This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,” he said. “The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

So shouldn’t this be a reason to pull out of the Common Core?  Buck the trend, preserve federalism, show other states that Indiana can produce standards of their own without Arne Duncan breathing down their neck?

I’m reminded of a letter I was shown sent by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to State Senator Mike Fair.  Senator Fair has worked diligently trying to rid South Carolina of the Common Core State Standards.  In it Governor Haley wrote:

South Carolina’s educational system has at times faced challenges of equity, quality, and leadership – challenges that cannot be solved by increasing our dependence on federal dollars and the mandates that come with them.  Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.  Confirming my commitment to finding South Carolina solutions to South Carolina challenges, I am pleased to support your efforts to reverse the 2010 decision to adopt the common core standards.

Dr. Bennett, are you saying there isn’t enough knowledge, talent and experience within the state of Indiana to develop standards for the Hoosier state that makes sense for Indiana’s kids?  Governor Haley understands that even ceding control to the consensus of other states is not practicing fidelity to federalism.  It’s time for you to understand that as well.

Pull Indiana out of the Common Core State Standards or at the very least let elected officials who are accountable to the citizens of Indiana decide whether or not it is the right course to pursue.