kitchen table math, the sequel: "Growing headwinds for Common Core"

Friday, August 2, 2013

"Growing headwinds for Common Core"

I haven't been following the progress of PARCC....and I hadn't realized how central the idea of common assessments were to the Common Core undertaking, although I should have.

Looks like things aren't going well on that front:
Yesterday, PARCC released the cost of its tests—and right on cue, another state, Georgia, dropped out of the testing consortia. This is a disaster.

At this point, I won’t be surprised if we end up with 20 or more different testing systems in 2014–15. So much for commonness, so much for comparability. Rigor and alignment with tough standards are likely the next to fall.

That's how the consortia crumble
Andy Smarick / July 23, 2013
Here is Truth in American Education on Whiteboard Advisors Insider Results on Common Core.

And here is T.H.E. Journal Magazine on Remaining PARCC States Affirm Commitment, Get on Track for Field Testing By Dian Schaffhauser 07/30/13

The "Insider" brief is fun: Tracking Measures, Growing Headwinds for Common Core, and Prospects for Administration Policy Proposals May 2013.

This reminds me David Steiner's observation, which I've heard him make twice...which was that, at least in his view, the point of Common Core was to get around the fact the Constitution leaves education up to the states. That's why Common Core produced standards instead of curricula, Steiner said: the U.S. federal government cannot constitutionally impose a central curriculum on the states.

So the idea was to impose a central set of standards instead.

I guess common assessments adopted willingly by individual states were another means of circumventing that obstacle. (They would pretty much have to be if the goal is to circumvent the constitution.)

The whole undertaking now seems crazy to me.

Get around state prerogatives?

By creating a complicated and expensive common assessment states have to buy?


Maybe this is crazy; I haven't thought it through.

If you really want common assessments - if you actually want to make common assessments happen as opposed to almost make them happen and then have states pull out of the consortium - pass a law requiring every student in the country to take one of the already-existing standardized tests when he or she leaves school.

SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Matter tests, Accuplacer....pick one, pass a law requiring 18-year olds to take it (is that constitutional? I don't know), and fund it.

Then you have a nationally standardized comparison of all students in the United States.

Andy Smarick's other post is worth reading, too: The Complicated Economics of Testing in the Era of Common Core Standards

The Role of the Federal Government in Public Education in the United States

1 comment:

Dennis Ashendorf said...

Catherine, you nailed it!

Among the national elites, the point of the Common Core was to get a national curriculum and a national test: a big debate was how to reconcile the two consortiums scores!

At a local level, the Common Core suggests more coherence in progression and gave state elites joy in a more "reform-based" approach to math. The reduced number of standards (which is OK with me!) allows reform math more time to work its magic (great in demos - I've seen a CGI teacher perform extraordinarily well).

After K-5 or K-8, CC becomes a bit strange. All standards are kept plus the renewed emphasis on modeling (not a bad thing, but more(?)).