Common Core Expert Responds to New Yorkers’ Concerns About Standards, Testing, and More
In June the Collaborative for Student Success shared a Newsday editorial on Common Core in New York on our Facebook page. The editorial said that implementation woes aside, Common Core is a set of higher standards and it’s time for New York’s schools to move forward.
A number of people commented on the Facebook post, many of whom had some negative things to say about New York’s Common Core State Standards.
I felt like this would be a good opportunity to respond to their concerns, as they do reflect concerns I have heard before.
Does Carol Anne mean the standards that Massachusetts isn’t using anymore, because they switched to the Common Core? Actually, Massachusetts wouldn’t even be using those standards if they weren’t using the Common Core. They were in the process of revising them anyway, because they were old and outdated. In 2010, the Massachusetts State Board of Education unanimously chose to adopt the Common Core State Standards. The old Massachusetts standards were written for a different day – one in which iPhones, YouTube, e-Readers and Wi-fi had not yet been invented. At this point, the old Massachusetts standards are 15 years old and would need a complete overhaul.
Despite what some critics say, research shows that the expectations are grade-level appropriate. Research on early learning strongly informed the development of the Standards. One important source was the 2009 report, Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity, developed by the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Childhood Mathematics. The National Association for the Education of Young Children in conjunction with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in States also issued a joint statement publically expressing their support for the Standards.
Actually, the National Research Council recommended the shifts in mathematics, in its seminal report, Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics. It turns out we have learned a great deal about how students learn, and that it is better to help students develop a conceptual understanding of math, so that they have multiple ways to go about solving complex problems. This is just like how a major league pitcher learns to throw a curve ball, a change up, and a slider, so that they have a slate of options to use when facing a batter for the first time. Did you know that the nation’s leading mathematics education organizations like the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) are in strong support of the Common Core?
Nope. Common Core has nothing to do with data collection. The standards say nothing of states’ data collection or teacher evaluation policies. In fact, if a state were to repeal the Common Core tomorrow, it would experience no changes to what data is collected or how teachers are evaluated – those activities would just be based on a different set of standards. If Maddie and others truly have concerns with data collection or teacher evaluations, they should know that changing or removing the Common Core would have no impact whatsoever! Don’t take my word for it, Rob McKenna, former attorney general for Washington State, wrote last year: “I encourage parents to read [the Common Core State Standards]. They will find no mention of data-collection mandates.”
Adam Ezring is the Director of Policy at the Collaborative for Student Success.