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1 The Common Core Debate Jennifer Ash Office for Education Policy University of Arkansas December 11, 2014 Arkansas School Board Association Meeting.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The Common Core Debate Jennifer Ash Office for Education Policy University of Arkansas December 11, 2014 Arkansas School Board Association Meeting."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The Common Core Debate Jennifer Ash Office for Education Policy University of Arkansas December 11, 2014 Arkansas School Board Association Meeting

2 AR Education Reports Policy Briefs Report Cards Newsletters Data Resources 2

3 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Approved by State Board of Education in July 2010, Legislature endorsed in 2011 Implemented in AR schools since 2011 Why are we debating the Common Core now? 3

4 Motivation for Discussing Common Core Debate National movement against the Common Core has gained momentum – Several states have withdrawn from CCSS and/or testing consortium Anti-Common Core movement in Arkansas – “Arkansas Against Common Core” formed in 2013 – In July 2013, Joint House and Senate Education Committees held 2 day hearing on Common Core. – In 2014 fiscal session, two bills were introduced to defund CCSS implementation. Much confusion and misinformation surrounding Common Core 4

5 Purpose of Presentation Bring clarity to the Common Core Debate – Discuss history of the Common Core – Arguments for the Common Core – Arguments against the Common Core – Myths/Arguments that we don’t need to worry about Make recommendations for how Arkansas should move forward with Common Core 5

6 History and Background behind Common Core 6

7 Standards vs. Curriculum Standards Set of knowledge, competencies or skills that students are expected to master 7 Curriculum Specific instructional materials or methods used to teach skills

8 Standards vs. Curriculum Standards 8 Curriculum

9 Standards Movement Standards movement in the US precedes the Common Core Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

10 Standards Movement A Nation At Risk (1983) – U.S. underperforming other nations – Economic and national security consequences – Led to proposals for national standards Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

11 Arguments for National Standards Proponents argue that national standards are… Clarifying: Clarify goals and expectations of educational system Efficient: Keep states from having to reinvent the wheel Equitable: Students held to same standards, regardless of location Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

12 Arguments For National Standards Proponents argue that national standards … Lead to higher achievement *Many high-achieving countries have national standards (Singapore, Finland)… but so do low-achieving countries (Greece, Thailand) Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

13 Arguments Against National Standards Opponents argue that… Centralized control of standards is harmful – Standards are the same but not necessarily high quality – Allows for too much influence of politically powerful groups Education is a state, rather than federal, responsibility Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

14 National Standards Debate National standards were not politically viable, so standards movement shifted towards state standards Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

15 State Standards Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 (ESEA): – required states to create standards and assessments – law did not have “teeth” so few states did this Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

16 State Standards No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (ESEA): – required states to create standards and assessments – Federal funding tied to compliance – All 50 states participated Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

17 State Standards Many states voluntarily created standards prior to NCLB 1999: Arkansas established ACTAAP standards and testing Late 1980s/ Early 1990s Publication of A Nation At Risk National Standards Debate No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) Late 1980s Arkansas’ ACTAAP established

18 Problems with NCLB: “Race to the Bottom” Under NCLB, states create standards and define “proficiency” on assessments Quality of state standards varies considerably “Race to the bottom”: states set proficiency cut- off scores low so it looks like more students are meeting standards 18

19 Origin of the Common Core State Standards K-12 Standards in English/Language Arts and Mathematics Intended to promote “college and career readiness ” Initiative launched in 2009 by National Governor’s Association (NGA) & Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) 19

20 Adoption of Common Core Final version of CCSS released to public in June of 46 states adopted in June or July 2010 Receptiveness to Common Core that did not exist for previous attempts at common standards 20

21 Incentives to Adopt Common Core State Standards Race to the Top (RttT) – Federal grant program/contest among states Submit reform plans and can win funding to implement plans – In effect, RttT required participation in Common Core to be competitive for grant Requires participation in “multi-state consortium developing common standards and assessments” At the time, only Common Core fit that definition 21

22 Incentives to Adopt Common Core State Standards ESEA Waivers – States required to adopt “College- and Career- Ready Expectations for All Students” Common Core qualifies States’ “college and career” standards could qualify – States that did not adopt Common Core still received ESEA waivers Examples: Texas, Virginia 22

23 Current Status of the CCSS originally adopted CCSS in part Withdrawn: Indiana Oklahoma South Carolina Republican governors in several states (LA, WI, MS, UT) have spoken out against CCSS

24 Common Core Assessments Two testing consortia: – Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governed by participating states – Make decisions about format, cut-off scores Computer-based/computer-adaptive 24

25 Current Status of PARCC and SBAC 10 states have left PARCC/SBAC Contracting with other organizations for assessments Map does not reflect Iowa’s departure from SBAC in Aug

26 Current Status of CCSS in Arkansas Arkansas is still using Common Core standards and will administer PARCC in Spring 2015 However… Anti-Common Core movement in Arkansas Gov.-elect Hutchinson: thorough review of CCSS and state’s adoption and implementation of CCSS 26

27 Current Status of CCSS in Arkansas Even though there is opposition to CCSS in Arkansas… Arkansas is unlikely to withdraw from the Common Core. Important to know facts about CCSS: As school board members, it is important to communicate in an informed way with concerned parents about CCSS 27

28 Common Core Debate Arguments For Arguments Against Myths/Arguments We Don’t Need to Worry About 28

29 Arguments For the Common Core 1.Increased Rigor 2.New Testing Regime 3.Greater Access to Instructional Resources 4.National Curricular Coherence 29

30 Arguments For: Increased Rigor Common Core standards are more rigorous than majority of previous state standards 2010 Fordham Institute report: CCSS more rigorous than 37 of 50 states’ existing standards, including Arkansas 30 CCSSArkansas ACTAAP English/Language Arts B+D Math A-C

31 Arguments For: New Testing Regime Common Core gives Arkansas the opportunity to implement a new (and likely improved) testing regime. 31

32 Arguments For: New Testing Regime – Ceiling effects: In many districts, over 90% of students are passing tests – NAEP indicates that Arkansas lagging behind national average, so high scores on ACTAAP misleading – Ceiling effects make it difficult to measure growth 32 5 th grade Benchmark score ACTAAP testing system needs to be replaced # of students Distribution of student scores on 5 th grade Benchmark

33 Arguments For: Greater Access to Instructional Resources Common Core standards will allow Arkansas to have access to more and higher quality instructional resources. Pre-CCSS: Publishers focused on creating textbooks for largest markets (e.g. TX & CA) – Adapted textbooks for smaller states Large number of states using CCSS=large market for CCSS materials creation of more and higher quality resources 33

34 Arguments For: National Curricular Coherence Common Core will mean that students across the nation will be taught the same concepts/skills at the same time. Good for students: Less curricular disruption for students who move across states Good for policymakers/researchers: Common standards and tests allow us to compare AR’s performance directly to other states’ at school and district levels 34

35 Arguments Against the Common Core 1.Lack of Rigor 2.Centralized Control of Standards Is Harmful 3.Higher Standards Do Not Affect Achievement 4.Implementation Challenges 35

36 Arguments Against: Lack of Rigor Common Core standards are not rigorous enough Prominent subject-matter experts who are critics of CCSS: ELA- Sandra Stotsky, Math- James Milgram 36 CCSS- Fordham CCSS- Stotsky/Millgram English/Language Arts B+C- Math A-B-

37 Arguments Against: Centralized Control of Standards Is Harmful Centralized control of standards can lead to undesirable outcomes Problematic to have one set of standards for everyone when we don’t know what the best standards are – does not allow us to learn from the “laboratory of states” Even if standards are good initially, centralized control means standards can more easily be watered down or co-opted 37

38 Arguments Against: Higher Standards Do Not Affect Achievement The Common Core will not, by itself, increase student achievement High standards not correlated with high achievement – Massachusetts– high standards, high performance – Tennessee- high standards, low performance 38

39 Arguments Against: Implementation Challenges There have been many burdensome implementation challenges with the Common Core 1.Rushed accountability – Educators need more time to adjust new standards before test results are used for school accountability and teacher evaluation 2.Lack of high-quality CCSS materials – 2014 study: Many “CCSS-aligned” textbooks are not really aligned to standards 3.Lack of technological infrastructure – Need for computers/internet access 39

40 Arguments Not To Worry About: 1.Federal Overreach 2.No Proven Track Record of Success 3.“Fuzzy” Math and Lack of Literature 4.Breaches in Student Data Privacy 5.More Testing 40

41 Arguments Not To Worry About: Federal Overreach The Common Core represents unprecedented federal overreach CCCSS represents a continuation of a decades-long standards movement CCSS were not created nor required by the federal government Concern that standards creation was undemocratic: Standards have always been created by a small group of experts – CCSS in D.C., ACTAAP in Little Rock 41

42 Arguments Not To Worry About: No Proven Track Record of Success The Common Core has no proven track record of success Innovation: schools and districts often implement new and untested programs or strategies Cannot learn if a new approach is effective without trying it 42

43 Arguments Not To Worry About: “Fuzzy” Math and Lack of Literature The Common Core promotes “fuzzy math” that gets rid of standard algorithms Many examples of “Common Core math” have surfaced on the internet 43

44 Arguments Not To Worry About: “Fuzzy” Math and Lack of Literature The Common Core promotes “fuzzy math” that gets rid of standard algorithms Standards ≠ Curriculum Common Core promotes deeper understanding of math concepts CCSS does not abandon traditional algorithms Often, CCSS are confused with constructivist/ “new math” curricula that districts are using, such as Everyday Math or Cognitively Guided Instruction 44

45 Arguments Not To Worry About: “Fuzzy” Math and Lack of Literature The Common Core takes literature out of curriculum CCSS encourages combination of fiction and informational texts – Elementary: 50% /50% – Middle: 45%/55% nonfiction – High School: 30%/70% nonfiction – Split intended to be across all disciplines Outcry against optional reading list that includes technical document (e.g. EPA report) – Only 3 required texts: Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Lincoln’s second inaugural address 45

46 Arguments Not To Worry About: Breaches in Student Data Privacy Common Core will lead to large-scale collection and sharing of student data States remain in control of student data and have systems in place to protect student privacy Myth may have arisen because CCSS associated with Race to the Top, which incentivized states to create K-16 data systems 46

47 Arguments Not To Worry About: More Testing Common Core will lead to more time spent on testing PARCC will not require more time than Arkansas ACTAAP exams Despite rhetoric, no evidence that current amount of testing is too burdensome Currently, ~12 hours/2 school days spent on testing 47

48 Should Arkansas continue with the Common Core? Given that… AR is 3 years into implementing CCSS CCSS has support from AR educators’ associations: AEA, AAEA, ASBA Common Core is not expected to be a panacea but an improvement on the past system 48

49 Recommendations for Arkansas’ Future with Common Core OEP Recommendation: Arkansas should continue to implement Common Core Much of concern surrounding Common Core rests on illegitimate arguments While we have identified some legitimate concerns, we believe the pros outweigh the cons. – Rigor: CCSS clearly superior to Arkansas’ standards – New Testing Regime: ACTAAP needs to be replaced, ceiling effects 49

50 Recommendations for Arkansas’ Future with Common Core Implementation–Need to focus our attention on how to support the implementation of the Common Core – State Policy: Broadband expansion Being mindful of new changes that schools/districts are implementing (CCSS, TESS) – Local/District Policy: Accept lower test scores due to unfamiliar and more rigorous tests Will take time to adjust to new, higher standards 50

51 Conclusion Two Purposes of Presentation: Bring clarity to the Common Core Debate Make recommendations for how Arkansas should move forward with Common Core Hope these goals were accomplished Questions? 51

52 Questions? 52


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