Monday, December 23, 2013

Mississippi Schools Adapting To Common Core.

Hechinger Report (12/23, Mader) reports on classroom-level changes taking place in Mississippi under the Common Core Standards, “which are slowly transforming the approach to teaching and learning” in the state. The piece explains that most districts in the state are phasing in the standards “just in kindergarten, first- and second-grades over the past two years” to avoid “the pressure of standardized testing, which begins in third grade.” The piece notes that Mississippi is likely to face added challenges because “its old standards are so weak compared to those in other states.”

Common Core Debate Intensifies In North Carolina.

The Statesville (NC) Record & Landmark (12/23) reports that the debate over whether to withdraw from the Common Core Standards “kicked into high gear this week” in North Carolina, noting that the state legislature’s Research Commission Common Core Study Committee “met for the first time Tuesday in Raleigh.” Witnesses on both sides of the issue “presented their thoughts and research,” the paper reports.

Many Ohio Districts Lack Technology Capacity For Common Core Tests.

The Columbus (OH) Dispatch (12/22) reports that over a third of Ohio districts recently surveyed “say they are not ‘technology ready’” to give online tests aligned with the Common Core Standards. The piece notes that a group of state lawmakers are drafting language to “push back the start of online tests so schools can address technology issues.” The article describes schools with both a dearth of computers and unreliable Internet access.

Maryland Parents Complain Standardized Tests Are Outdated.

The Washington Post (12/23, George) reports that parents in Montgomery County, Maryland are complaining that their children are taking “outdated exams that no longer reflect their classroom teaching,” and are calling for the cancellation of next spring’s Maryland School Assessments. The piece describes the grassroots opposition to the tests, which critics say “lack purpose — and take away time that could be used for instruction — because they do not reflect the Common Core standards now being taught.”

Idaho Students To Take SBAC Exam In March.

The Idaho Statesman (12/21) reports that Idaho students will take “the hardest, most demanding and likely longest statewide assessment ever given” in the state in three months’ time, as districts implement the test crafted by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The piece notes that a group of superintendents with concerns about technology issues and the length of the tests met with state Superintendent Tom Luna last week “to air their worries and ask for changes to the exams.”

Mississippi Executive Order May Have Eased Common Core’s Implementation.

An AP (12/22, Amy) analysis reports that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant “may have been doing supporters of the Common Core standards a favor” by issuing a recent executive order “inveighing against a possible federal takeover of education in Mississippi.” The piece explains that the order did nothing to stymie implementation of the standards, and may have lessened pressure on “fence-sitting lawmakers, blocking progress on legislation that would reverse or stall Mississippi’s implementation of the standards.”

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