Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Common Core Demystified, Part II

In Part I of our two-part response to the Department of Public Instruction’s "Common Core Demystified", we rebutted DPI’s claims that Common Core Standards are state-led and DPI’s assertion that teachers will maintain control of the curriculum and how subjects are taught. In part II, we explore DPI’s claim that Common Core does not require specific data collection efforts and that the implementation of Common Core standards is “no different in cost than implementing North Carolina’s ongoing revisions to its longstanding standard course of study.”

CCD states that Common Core does not require student data collection.  Specifically, the document states:
North Carolina schools do not ask students questions about religious affiliation. State and federal privacy laws apply to certain health and income student data collected by the public schools.  But again the Common Core testing does not require data collection on students.
CCD goes out of its way to say Common Core standards do not require student data collection. That may be technically true.  It is what is left unsaid, however, that is significant.
Common Core does not specifically require student data collection. However, CCD fails to say an ambitious program of student data collection already exists and while Common Core Standards may not require data collection, teachers and students are expected to benefit from such efforts. Student data collection was built partly with the help of federal stimulus funding and also Race-to- the-Top funds, a federal grant which advocated heavily for the adoption of Common Core Standards.
For example, all states that accepted stimulus funding agreed to build broad state longitudinal data systems (SLDS) as a condition of receipt of the funds.   In addition, all states that applied for Race to the Top funding were given additional points based on their commitment to the development of student data collection. Improving data-driven decisions at all levels was a critical element of  North Carolina’s Race to the Top application. So while Common Core may not specifically require additional data collection, the standards link to Race-to-the-Top and as such tie them to a large existing state and federal student data collection effort.



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