What States Have Pulled Out of their Common Core Assessment Consortium?

239 PreTests

We wanted to provide a complete list in one location of all the states that have pulled out of either Smarter Balanced or PARCC, as well as, states that are considering it.

States that have pulled out of their Assessment Consortium:

  1. Utah (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile/54627081-68/utah-state-standards-consortium.html.csp
  2. Oklahoma (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/oklahoma-pulls-out-of-parcc/ (the Tulsa World article is no longer on the website).
  3. Georgia (PARCC) – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/georgia-decides-against-offering-common-core-stand/nYzDr/
  4. Alabama (Smarter Balanced & PARCC – they were an advisory state) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/02/alabama_withdraws_from_both_te.html
  5. Indiana (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/pence-pulls-indiana-out-of-parcc/  and http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/2013/07/29/gov-pence-signals-intent-to-withdraw-from-common-core-consortium-parcc/  As of December PARCC still had them listed though – http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/indianas-withdraw-parcc-real-show/
  6. Kansas (Smarter Balanced) – http://m.cjonline.com/news/2013-12-10/kansas-opts-create-its-own-common-core-tests
  7. Pennsylvania (Smarter Balanced & PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/06/pennsylvania_signals_departure_from_test_consortia.html
  8. Alaska (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsminer.com/news/education/alaska-changes-school-testing-consortium/article_05509298-7d77-11e3-9606-001a4bcf6878.html
  9. Florida (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/rick-scott-pulls-florida-out-of-parcc/

States Actively Considering Withdrawing

  1. Michigan (Smarter Balanced) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html
  2. Kentucky (PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html
  3. North Carolina (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/02/3502892/common-core-backlash-casts-shadow.html
  4. Iowa (Smarter Balanced) – The Iowa Legislature actually has to approve its use – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/05/iowa-puts-common-core-assessments-on-hold/

States that never joined.

  1. Virginia
  2. Texas
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota

Photo credit: Barbara Day

Credit: Stephanie Zimmerman of Idahoans for Local Education put the original list together in an email to our group.  I expanded it and added some additional news stories.

Whiteboard Advisors Insider Results on Common Core

Whiteboard Advisors did a poll this month of “education insiders.”  They define education insiders as   “influential leaders who are shaping federal education reform, including individuals who or are currently serving as key policy and political “insiders,” such as:

  • Current and former White House and U.S. Department of Education leaders;
  • Current and former Congressional staff;
  • State education leaders including state school chiefs and former governors; and
  • Leaders of major education organizations, think tanks and other key influentials

This month they were tracking measures, growing headwinds for Common Core, and prospects for administration policy proposals.

I wanted to highlight some of the findings related to the Common Core:

  • 78% believe PARCC is on the wrong track, 74% believe Smarter Balanced is as well.
  • 73% believe there will be 15 or fewer states involved in Smarter Balanced which is considerably, with a growing number believing there will 10 or fewer states.
  • 77% believe there will be 15 or fewer states in PARCC with a growing number believing there will be 10 states or less who stay in.  In November of 2012 13% believe there would be 20 states or more… that line of thinking has evaporated.
  • 63% believed states will issue a moratorium on the stakes attached to Common Core Assessments.
  • 74% believe that the proposed Next Generation Science Standards with their positions on climate change or evolution will antagonize conservatives.  (The rest who don’t believe that I would say don’t have a clue and shouldn’t be listened to.)

Anyway this points to the fact we have growing opposition and people are taking notice.  One astute observer noted if sitting governors start bailing on their support the Common Core is finished.  Which makes the RNC resolution all the more significant.  It is going to be very difficult for Republican governors facing reelection to run against the RNC position.

Data Tracking and the Common Core

One of the things that isn’t being discussed enough, but is getting attention is how data tracking of students is connected to the Common Core. 

It isn’t just assessment scores.  Joy Pullman pointed that out in her article last week on data mining:

The department is also funding and mandating databases that could expand each kid’s academic records into a comprehensive personal record, including “health-care history, disciplinary record, family income range, family voting status, and religious affiliation,”according to a 2012 Pioneer Institute report and the National Center for Educational Statistics. Under agreements every state signed to get 2009 stimulus funds, they must share students’ academic data with the federal government.

As Utah blogger Christel Swasey has documented, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) used to protect highly personal psychological and biological information, including items mentioned above and,according to the DOE, “fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.”

Under the DOE’s 2011 FERPA reinterpretation, however, any local, state, or federal agency may designate any individual or organization as an “educational representative” who can access such data—as long as the agency says this access is necessary to study or evaluate a program. These can include school volunteers and companies. A lawsuit against the regulations is pending.

Missouri Education Watchdog points out how this is tied to the Common Core.

They introduce a video from eScholar that makes the whole process seem benign.

  Gretchen Logue then writes:

eScholar is a company funded by government money to gather over 3000 data points on your child and teachers so your child doesn’t get “off track”.  Since when did the government start tracking human behavior and making the determination of what is “off track” and what is a child’s “greatest potential”?  Isn’t that up to the child and his/her parents?

Can anyone answer this question?  How can eScholar offer a “personalized track” for “Bobby” when “Bobby” is stuck in a “common” educational system?

Watch the CEO’s speech at the White House on his view of data and why he believes it is important to track individual data on each student.  Again, it sounds noble, innocent and non-threatening.  A student’s future is dependent on the data.  At 9:25 he mentions how  Common Core ties this all together.  A studentmust determine if his/her goals are  successfully tied into a common skill set.

What do you think would happen and what could go wrong if “Bobby’s” strongest skills and talents did not align with the Common Core skill set prescribed by SBAC or PARCC?

Read the whole article from Missouri Education Watchdog, it is a must-read.

Just remember this is something that is done without our permission and as one family was told on Friday it is something that we can not opt out of.

Georgia Bill Filed That Would Withdraw State From Common Core

Georgia State CapitolState Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) has filed a bill in the Georgia Senate that would withdraw Georgia from the Common Core State Standards.  Senate Bill 167 was filed on Thursday.  It is cosponsored by State Senators Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), John Albers (R-Roswell), Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), and Tommie Williams (R-Lyons).

The summary of the bill reads:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to competencies and core curriculum, so as to declare certain actions void ab initio relating to adoption of certain curricula; to prohibit state education agencies from entering into any commitments relating to the federal Race to the Top program; to require hearings and public input prior to adoption of state-wide competencies and content standards; to limit the compilation and sharing of personal student and teacher data; to prohibit the expenditure of funds for a state-wide longitudinal data system except for administrative needs and federal grant compliance; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Ligon explained on his Capitol Update page that the testimony given by former Texas Education Commissioner, Robert Scott, on the Common Core prompted him to author the legislation.  He said the Common Core usurps local and state control of education.  Ligon writes:

Here in Georgia, though we are receiving $400 million in federal funds over a four-year period, the General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant. The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for these types of decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.

Further, the accompanying tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC national testing consortium, will create such testing demands that this will probably become better known as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Scott informed us that the PARCC will cost approximately $30 to $37 per student, in comparison to Georgia’s current costs of between $5 to $10 per student. These estimates do not take into account the additional technology, both in hardware and bandwidth, that will be required at the local level for online testing.

The bottom line is that the people of Georgia pay over $13 billion in state and local taxes for K-12 education (every year). There is no reason that a $400 million federal grant (over four years) should usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.

The filing of Senate Bill 167 was followed by a commentary written by Michael Moore, professor of literacy education at Georgia Southern University, that was published by the Savannah Morning News.  Moore writes:

Georgia belongs to PARCC as did Alabama, until it recently opted out of both consortiums. Utah left last year and Colorado and Indiana currently have legislation to opt out of the consortiums, and South Carolina introduced legislation to opt out of the standards altogether.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through the National Governors Association and the organization of state school superintendents, funded the Common Core Standards, which are now the curricular coin of the realm in 46 states.

Race to the Top Money designed to sweeten the deal for joining the Common Core comes from the U.S. Department of Education. The Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts claims this federal funding runs afoul of three federal laws prohibiting the government from being involved in matters of curriculum.

The real dealbreaker, however, may be in the prohibitive costs of implementing all new tests.

Peter Dewitt, an elementary principal writing in Diane Ravitch’s blog, notes that “we lack the infrastructure to be testing factories, and that shouldn’t be our job in the first place.” Lawmakers, though, face increased lobbying from the same old test makers, Pearson, ETS and, the maker of Georgia’s tests, McGraw Hill. These companies stand to make fortunes on the assessments.

Georgia joins Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Utah, Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Colorado and South Carolina who all have legislation addressing the Common Core filed with their state legislatures.

Alabama Pulls Out of PARCC and SBAC

Edweek reported late Friday that Alabama has pulled out of both testing consortia that it was involved in.

In an email to EdWeek, the state’s assessment director, Gloria Turner, confirmed that Alabama has bowed out of both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. She said the department of education “has decided to go in another direction,” but didn’t offer any more detail.

The move wasn’t yet official within the two consortia, since the requisite processes haven’t yet been completed. The decision leaves PARCC with 22 members and Smarter Balanced with 24.

Alabama, you might recall, has been one of the dwindling number of states that have been playing “participating,” or “advisory” roles in each consortium. That means the state has been a part of discussions, but hasn’t had voting power. It also hasn’t had to choose one or the other group, which a state must do when it becomes a “governing” member of a consortium, with the accompanying voting power.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley who sits as President of the State Board of Education offered a resolution that would have repealed the Common Core back in the fall of 2011.  Unfortunately it lost on a 6-3 vote with Governor Bentley, Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters all voting in favor of rescinding the standards.

Unfortunately this doesn’t necessarily indicate that they will withdraw from using the standards.  They just won’t use these assessments.

Unwritten Tests Provide Obstacle for Common Core

Joy Pullman writing for the Heartland Institute says that unwritten tests present an obstacle for the Common Core State Standards.

Education leaders are beginning to publicly worry that two coalitions attempting to determine mandatory tests for some 40 million U.S. students by 2014 can’t pull their massive enterprise together by deadline or at all.

This threatens the entire Common Core project, which in 2014 will tie national tests to grade-by-grade education requirements 45 states adopted in math and English in 2010. Two networks, called SMARTER Balanced (SBAC) and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are creating separate tests….

….Some big questions include: where the testing groups will get money once federal grants run out six months before the tests appear in classrooms in 2015; whether testmakers and states can handle the technical problems of creating and administering ambitious, online tests; and whether states will tolerate higher passing score requirements.

Read the rest.

Technology Requirements for Common Core Assessments Released, But Not Costs

The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released their technology requirements last week.  The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)  released theirs earlier this month.  Both are noticeably quiet on the costs.

Here are the five recommendations made by SBAC:

  1. Move away from Windows XP (which is currently used by more than half of schools today) to Windows 7.
  2. Upgrade computers to at least 1 GB of internal memory.
  3. Make sure that all screens being used for the assessments have a visual display of no less than 9.5-inches, with at least a 1024 x 768 resolution.
  4. Make sure the student testing site operates on secure browsers.
  5. The assessment requires about 5-10 Kbps of bandwidth per student.

EdWeek reported last week on the PARCC requirements:

The new PARCC guidelines are “very similar” to the Smarter Balanced requirements, said Susan Van Gundy, associate director for assessment technology at Achieve, an organization that is managing the partnership consortium’s work.

One of the requirements focuses on test security. All devices used during the tests—whether laptops, netbooks, tablets—and operating systems must have the capability to “lock down” and temporarily disable features that present a security risk while exams are being given. Certain features would also need to be controlled during test administration, including unlimited Internet access, certain types of cameras, screen captures, e-mail, and instant-messaging, the requirements say.

Some of the PARCC requirements are still to come. Minimum bandwidth requirements won’t be determined until next year, according to PARCC. But the group is setting the recommended bandwidth for external connections to the Internet at 100 kilobits per second, per student or faster, and the minimum for internal school networks at least at 1000 kilobits per second, per student.

Desktop and laptop computers, netbooks, thin clients are among the allowable testing devices. Smartphones will not be allowed for 2014-15, because they do not meet the minimum 9.5-inch screen size, Van Gundy said. Tablets that meet the standards will be allowed. (Smarter Balanced has also said a 9.5-inch screen should be the standard.)

Standards for operating systems vary. The minimum standards for Windows, for instance, is Windows XP/Service Pack 3, though looking ahead, Windows 7 or newer is recommended.

Now it would be great if we’d see some information on how much the technology will costs schools who may not meet the minimum requirements.

Textbooks Shot Down in Louisiana

textbookWe’ve been warning you the the Common Core was going to drive textbooks and curriculum.  Here’s proof.

From the EdWeek Blog Curriculum Matters:

Louisiana is poised to reject every math and reading textbook submitted by publishers in its most recent adoption cycle, citing concerns that the materials are not fully aligned to the Common Core State Standards’ expectations, state officials announced today.

Though the Pelican State isn’t the first to deal with a textbook-adoption process colliding with the common core, it does appear to be the first time alignment has been cited as a key factor in eschewing an endorsement.

Superintendent John White said in an interview that state reviewers found that the textbooks generally didn’t adequately match the skills measured in preliminary tasks unveiled by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of the two testing consortia designing exams aligned to the common standards.

The decision would effectively delay state adoption of K-2 math textbooks and K-5 English/language arts for several years.

“It’s no one’s fault; there no logical reason to expect a publisher to be ready for an assessment that is two years from being completed,” White said.

Will the Common Core Lead to a Common Calendar?

Last night during our Truth in American Education participant conference call somebody had a great question.  Will the Common Core with its requisite assessments move states to a common calendar as well?  Neither Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) or Partnership of Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) have stated when tests will be administered, but in terms of data collection they will likely specify times.

Chicago Public Schools indicated they will give the CCSS (Illinois is with PARCC) assessments on a quarterly basis.  The fourth quarter is optional.  Here is their assessment time frames:

  • Quarter 1: October 17-November 10; All scoring of constructed response items and scanning of paper copies to be completed by November 23rd.
  • Quarter 2: January 11-January 26; Final scoring deadline TBD
  • Quarter 3: April 9-April 27; Final scoring deadline TBD
  • Quarter 4: NO REQUIRED ASSESSMENT. Optional assessment TBD

Will other states feel pressure to align with others for comparison’s sake?  How will this impact start dates, and will there be a push for year-round schools.  Some questions that need to be answered.