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Secretary DeVos and States Move Past the Politicized Debate over Standards

On February 16, 2017, Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to recent comments made by U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, on what the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) means for the Common Core State Standards: During his campaign, we heard President Trump vow to “repeal Common…

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Pursuing Success Even in the Face of Adversity

Chaos all around: large crowds yelling, police everywhere, and federal marshals in front and behind you for protection. This is a glimpse into the first day of school for the young civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. Ruby boldly stood in the face of adversity and defied many odds on November 14, 1960, when she became…

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Statement on the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

WASHINGTON (February 7, 2017) – In response to today’s Senate vote confirming Betsy DeVos as the new U.S. Secretary of Education, Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen has issued the following statement: “We are encouraged to hear Secretary DeVos has pledged to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as written by Congress,…

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Educating Military-Connected Students: What Does It Mean for Military Readiness?

The findings from a survey of Military Times readers highlight the powerful connection between the K-12 education of military-connected children and military readiness. U.S. service members with children are strongly influenced by how well their child is performing academically as well as perceptions of the quality of education their child will receive at a new posting….

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Report: Better Serving Those Who Serve

For the more than 1 million school-aged children in public schools that have a parent serving active duty in the United States military, access to a high-quality education can be problematic. With that in mind, the Lexington Institute’s new report, “Better Serving Those Who Serve: Improving the Educational Opportunities of Military-Connected Students,” examines the overwhelming…

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That First-Grade Math Problem That Went Viral…

After a North Carolina family posted a first-grade math problem on Facebook challenging friends to figure out how to solve the problem, Fox News Insider highlights the post noting that “adults react with consternation to a new brain-teaser.” Yet this piece (and others sharing the family’s Facebook post) neglects to mention that the family was…

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Why West Virginia Would Be Better Off Sticking With Smarter Balanced

  The West Virginia Board of Education is considering replacing Smarter Balanced exams for the state’s high school students, the West Virginia Metro News reports. New tests for high school students would be fully implemented in the 2018-19 school year, if the proposal is finalized. Statistics from the past two years show that many high…

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Improving Educational Opportunities of Military Connected Students

Upcoming Event: A panel discussion on improving educational opportunities of military-connected students. The event will feature: Release of a new Lexington Institute report on how children of active duty U.S. military personnel face a shortage of high-quality educational options that hurt academic achievement and reduce a family’s satisfaction with a military career. Release of a…

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Education Expert Says Attacks on Rigorous, Comparable Education Standards Largely ‘Fear Mongering,’ ‘Conspiracy Theories’

A review of several books critiquing states’ rigorous, comparable education standards finds that most “offer more folly than wisdom.” Robert Pondiscio of the Fordham Institute, who led the evaluation, notes that few of the books make an attempt to persuade readers to reject higher standards on “merits or lack thereof.” “Some barely take up the…

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Three Education Promises to Make for 2017

Many of us take the start of a new year as an opportunity to take a big leap into action. While some of our resolutions end up centering around personal improvement (save more money, go to the gym, get a new job), 2017 presents an excellent opportunity to make a new and daring resolution: to…

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Data Shows Overwhelming Support for Idaho’s High Standards

  Elaine King, a former educator from Sugar City, Idaho recently wrote a letter to the local paper encouraging readers to contact legislators and voice their “shared” concerns about Idaho’s high, comparable standards and aligned assessments. As Ms. King expressed in her piece, “It appears that the majority of parents and teachers are opposed to…

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No Confusion About the Success of West Virginia’s High Standards

  West Virginia is once again at a crossroads. For the third year in a row, legislation has been put forward to eliminate the high, comparable standards that have been in place since 2010. Delegate Pat McGeehan has introduced legislation to eliminate West Virginia’s Next Generation Standards, as well as do away with the Smarter…

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What’s Really Happening with West Virginia’s Standards and Local Control

  The Tenth Amendment Center’s recent blog post looking at the legislative effort in West Virginia to “withdraw the state from Common Core standards” misleads its readers on multiple fronts. While the Tenth Amendment Center claims the move is “an important step toward nullifying the nationalized education program” in the state, they are merely perpetuating the…

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States Have and Will Continue to Retain Control of Their Education

Robert Holland of the Heartland Institute argues that if Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to improve her standing with grassroots groups across the country she should “live up to her post-nomination renunciation of Common Core” and flex her regulatory authority to “free states and localities from federal control” over standards and assessments. First and foremost,…

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New Course in Michigan May Mean Greater Risks Than Benefits

State Representative Gary Glenn of Midland recently introduced legislation to repeal state Common Core educational standards in Michigan, according to John Kennett of Midland Daily News. Rep. Glenn and his fellow bill supporters claim that the high-quality comparable standards of Common Core are not working and do not take into account local educators’ input. Not…

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Teachers and Parents Know Higher Standards Create Greater Flexibility, Creativity

Neha Ogale and Alex Mazarr have a new piece in Collegiate Times contending that “one of the most problematic aspects of public education lies in standardized testing.”  In addition to supporting their argument with the fallacies that testing only measures “memorization” and stifles creativity, the two writers believe that in “the system as it exists…

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Actually, NewsBusters and TV Land, Higher Standards Aren’t From the Federal Government

  The website NewsBusters recently highlighted an episode of TV Land’s comedy show “Teachers” and how much it showed that Common Core “sucks.”  Unfortunately, neither the reporter nor show creators took much time to research the facts and just repeated some of the most common myths about high-quality assessments and standards. First and foremost, NewsBusters…

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Where DeVos Stands on Standards

  In a piece published by Western Journalism, Janice Daniels contends that Betsy DeVos’ “indefensible support and promotion” of high, comparable education standards should disqualify her from serving as the U.S. Secretary of Education. “Americans need a sound education in American history,” Daniels says, which conflicts with more rigorous education standards. President Trump, she surmises,…

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Smarter Balanced Works For Connecticut’s Students and Teachers

  Smarter Balanced assessments are “a bust” and “continuing these invalid tests comes at a steep price,” argues Wendy Lecker, an attorney with the Education Law Center, in the Stamford Advocate. Among her criticisms, Lecker suggests that there is “no evidence that the SBAC is valid to measure student ‘growth’” and “administrators overwhelmingly agree that…

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In Idaho (and Across the Country) High Standards are Made at the State and Local Level

  District 1 Representative Heather Scott authored an opinion piece where she called for the removal of “federal mandates for local schools” following a rally of Idaho residents who spoke out against the state’s Common Core standards. “Buck the Core” rally participants argued that Common Core was a “top down approach” and “testing has become…

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Secretary DeVos and States Move Past the Politicized Debate over Standards

On February 16, 2017, Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to recent comments made by U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, on what the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) means for the Common Core State Standards: During his campaign, we heard President Trump vow to “repeal Common…

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Incoming Education Secretary: High Standards Matter

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education has ignited considerable speculation about the impact her confirmation may have on the future of high, comparable interstate education standards. Much of the uncertainty surrounding Ms. DeVos’ views has arisen because of her own seemingly conflicting statements. Almost immediately after she became…

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Scores on the Rise: Majority of States with High Standards in Place See Improvement

On October 5, 2016 Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen released the following memo on the states’ recent test scores: A few weeks ago, I wrote that states with tests aligned to new, higher academic standards were beginning to report year-over-year scores. Students, parents, teachers and policymakers could now assess student progress and adjust…

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Statement from Collaborative for Student Success on Donald Trump’s Education Remarks

Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen released the following statement regarding Donald Trump’s education “policy” remarks that get the facts wrong on high academic standards: “Donald Trump fundamentally misunderstands the Common Core. He apparently doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, that when he calls for equity in education, access, affordability and accountability to the…

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PDK Poll Joins the Call to Keep the Bar High

From Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success While Americans may disagree over the exact purpose of a strong education, they roundly agree that educators should challenge all students to develop skills necessary for success after high school, whatever path they choose. Results from Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International’s annual public opinion…

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Education Next Poll: Strong Support for High Standards, Not Labels

On August 23, 2016, Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on Education Next’s new poll results on high standards and assessments: Education Next’s annual public opinion survey confirms what we’ve long suspected: it’s time to stop fighting about the words “Common Core” and move forward. While the Common…

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It’s Still Early, But Test Results Appear to Show Improvements

From Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success Last year, most states administered assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards for the first time, establishing a new, more rigorous baseline for student achievement. As the Collaborative noted then, the milestone marked a new era in education. Finally, states began measuring students to…

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Common Core State Standards Are Still the Right Way to Prepare Students for College and Careers

On June 13, 2016, Jim Cowen, Interim Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to the release of ACT’s National Curriculum Survey: Last week ACT released the results of its latest National Curriculum Survey, a periodic poll of K-12 and college educators. The report suggests big discrepancies between…

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The Fallacy of Going It Alone on Student Assessments

On June 3, 2016, Jim Cowen, Interim Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo detailing the fiscal and logistical challenges facing states that have moved away from the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments: Last year, for the first time, a majority of states across the country implemented meaningful tests aligned…

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States Once Again Affirm Their Support for the Common Core

On May 5, 2016, Jim Cowen, Interim Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo showing how the Common Core State Standards continue to prevail across the country: Six years in, the debate over high, comparable standards has subsided. Predictions of widespread repeal have failed to materialize. In Indiana and South Carolina,…

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