Split of Opinion on Common Core Implementation

A recent survey found that despite debates over the program, state education officials generally feel confident that their states will stick with the new K-12 standards, as reported in the Washington Post

The survey, by the nonpartisan Center for Education Policy at George Washington University, measured opinions of 40 of the 45 states and the District of Columbia that have fully adopted the standards. . .

Adoption of the standards throughout the states is integral to their success, as the hope for the standards is to create a baseline for our education systems nationwide.  As described,

Written by governors and state education officials in both parties and largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Common Core standards are designed so that students from kindergarten through 12th grade acquire the same skills and knowledge in reading and math, regardless of where they live. Historically, academic standards vary widely among states, and that patchwork nature has been partly blamed for mediocre rankings of U.S. students in international comparisons.

For more information, see the full story from the Post.

In Maryland, the state is adopting the Common Core standards, but is now debating how to accommodate student testing and teacher evaluations throughout the transition.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, state teachers union and school superintendents association are calling for a moratorium on annual student assessments until Maryland switches to tests that match a new curriculum being implemented in classrooms. 

Calls for suspending the tests followed the state’s release of the most recent student test scores, which dropped significantly for the first time in a decade. State officials blamed the poor showing on rapid changes to the curriculum, called the Common Core.

Some school districts had already begun using the new curriculum, but the new tests to accompany it will not be ready until the 2014-2015 school year.

Secretary Lowery of the Maryland Department of Education would like the tests to proceed, in compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind law.  Secretary Lowery has been warning that the State would see a dip in test scores as a result of common core adoption in her public appearances throughout the past year.  Some educators would also support the testing, for example Baltimore County Superintendent S. Dallas Dance said Wednesday that the testing will provide helpful data, particularly in the area of reading.

Another concern is the use of the student test scores to evaluate teachers beginning next year.  As reported,

Educators across the state are concerned that it would not be fair to judge teachers based on test scores that don’t measure what they are teaching. In addition, administrators worry that teachers would be less likely to make the switch from the old curriculum to the Common Core if they know they are being judged by the old tests.

A few weeks ago, Senator Ferguson wrote an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun urging the state to implement teacher evaluations without delay.  As reported in the Sun, the U.S. Department of Education has said it will consider requests that the teacher evaluation be put off for a year. In the meantime, Maryland is expected to request a waiver from the teacher evaluation requirement.

For more information, see the full story from the Sun.

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