Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Common Core - May 14, 2013

Indiana Pauses Common Core Implementation.

Valerie Strauss writes at the Washington Post (5/14, Strauss) "Answer Sheet" blog that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) has signed legislation under which the state "is postponing implementation of the Common Core initiative so that there can be more discussion on the quality and impact of the standards," characterizing this as "a compromise between forces that want the Common Core to go forward because they say they will raise academic achievement, and forces who believe the standards are not as good as Indiana's old ones and want education decisions to be local." Strauss notes that Indiana "is one of the handful of states that are either pulling back or considering halting the standards."
The Washington Times (5/14, Wolfgang) reports that Pence's predecessor, Mitch Daniels, "was one of the biggest supporters of" the Common Core, but adds that Indiana "has now become ground zero in the fight against the controversial system." The Times quotes Daniels saying, "I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers."

Pennsylvania Senate To Hold Common Core Implementation Hearing.

The Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News (5/14, Murphy) reports on growing controversy about the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, noting that the state Senate will hold a hearing on the standards and a "high-stakes graduating testing requirement" on Wednesday, and that "Democrats are planning a news conference for today to voice outrage over this initiative's implementation without legislative approval." The article describes opposition to the Common Core based on favoring local control, noting that the widespread acceptance of the standards leads "some to believe this will lead to a much-feared national curriculum." The piece notes that supporters say that the decision to move forward was made three years ago by the state BOE, "and school districts have been or should have been preparing for this change since then."

Writers Urge Conservatives To Support Common Core.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (5/14, Stern, Klein, Subscription Publication), author Sol Stern and former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein praise the potential for the Common Core Standards to positively transform US education, giving students college- and career-readiness, as well as basic civics education. The writers express unsurprised resignation that some liberal elements oppose the standards, but are dismayed that conservatives oppose them. They refute opposition based on the idea that the Administration coerced states into accepting the standards, citing the state-level origins of the standards, and single out the Republican National Committee for criticism over its opposition.

Briscoe Refutes Link Between Common Core, Facial Recognition Systems.

Andrew Ujifusa, writing at the Education Week (5/14, Ujifusa) "State EdWatch" blog, expands on a point made in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch (5/12, Crouch) article (summarized in yesterday's Department of Education News Briefing) about statements from Common Core critics that the standards have been linked "to 'facial recognition' technology they said the U.S. government would use to read students' minds and pry into their eating habits at home." He notes that the Post-Dispatch reported that an ED draft report titled "Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century" makes reference to certain biofeedback metrics, but also reported that ED "spokesman Daren Briscoe asserts that there is no connection between the common core and this report."

Tennessee Paper Says Common Core Should Be Given Chance.

The Sevierville (TN) Mountain Press (5/14) editorializes that the poor performance of US schools "cannot be allowed to continue," noting that this is why Tennessee has signed on the Common Core Standards. The paper concedes that the transition may be moving too rapidly, but says, "despite the concerns, Common Core is a good thing," because it will foster education research, standardize assessments, and teach students to apply knowledge rather than simply memorize it. The piece concludes that the Common Core "deserves a chance to succeed."

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