Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting to the Core of the Public School Standards Debate

Daily Journal, By Kristen BlairJan. 7th, 2014

RALEIGH — As the New Year launches, disquiet over Common Core testing is building. States from Kentucky to New York to North Carolina have posted abysmal scores on early tests aligned with the math and English language-arts standards adopted by 45 states. 

Parents and local educators, many of whom feel duped by Common Core's stealthy arrival, are raising a ruckus. As a result, multiple states have moved to delay components of Common Core implementation or testing. North Carolina should follow suit.

In early November, North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction released scores on the first round of Common Core tests, revealing epic rates of failure. At all points along the grade 3-8 continuum, a majority of students fell short of proficiency thresholds. Fewer than half of third-graders scored proficient in reading and math. Among eighth-graders, 41 percent demonstrated proficiency in reading; just 34 percent did so in math.

Should we be mollified by assurances that the standards measured by these tests are well-crafted and rigorous? Nope. Content experts on Common Core’s validation committee, Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, refused to approve the standards, calling them flawed. 

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