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Annual Assessments Are About Improving a Student’s Chance at Success

Annual assessment season is right around the corner, and with it comes the annual clamor from opt-out proponents asking others to join them in having their children not show up for the annual tests.  The same opt-out arguments are being regurgitated in New York right now: the testing culture “is punitive in nature;” assessments put…

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Teachers Recognize the Power of High-Quality Assessments

As spring approaches, schools across the country will have their students participate in statewide annual assessments. With that, inevitably comes the call from a small but vocal chorus of individuals trying to encourage parents to opt their children out of these high-quality assessments. Jen Grana, a parent in New Jersey, recently posted that plea, asking fellow…

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Why Anti-Common Core TwitterBots Won’t Make President Trump “Repeal” High Standards

  On the Huffington Post, Rebecca Klein profiles members of the anti-Common Core movement and their vow to get President Trump to make good on his campaign promise to dismantle the Common Core State Standards.  As one conservative said about the movement, “one thing I know about the Common Core grassroots is they don’t give…

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What SB1 Means for Kentucky’s High Standards

  On March 15, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to the passage of SB1 in Kentucky. Today, Kentucky passed SB1, a bill that affirms the state’s control of its education system by enumerating educational priorities and doubling down on high academic standards. The…

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Raising the Bar is the Right Move for Students

What happens when you set the bar high for all students? They rise to the occasion. A high school’s “academic intensity” is the most important factor in whether or not students go on to complete college, the New York Times recently reported. The article, “A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope,” takes a close…

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The Anti-#CommonCore Movement on Twitter: Thousands of angry people? Or one well-paid Floridian robot?

Over the past three years, almost 200,000 tweets with angry memes of zombie children, rotten apples, and Islamophobic messaging have been filling up the #CommonCore space on Twitter, crowding out helpful information and productive dialogue on high, comparable math and English standards. Turns out – a vast number of these tweets originate from a single Twitter…

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Read Across America Day

“It is better to know how to learn than to know” As we celebrate Read Across America Day, it’s almost impossible to do so without thinking about Dr. Seuss. If we’ve learned anything from Dr. Seuss, it’s that creativity and imagination play a vital role in helping students fall in love with reading! Did you…

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Most #CommonCore Opponents Don’t Actually Dislike Common Core? 

  Two years ago the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at University of Pennsylvania released an analysis of conversations about #CommonCore on Twitter. This morning the group released an update on how these conversations have changed over the past 2 years and shared some of their takeaways. Jonathan Supovitz and his colleagues looked at…

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Facebook Reacts to Dad’s Common Core Math Piece in Forbes

Last week on Facebook we shared a great piece that appeared in Forbes, written by a physics professor, Chad Orzel, who shared why he’s such a fan of Common Core math. “As a professor of physics and a parent of two elementary-school students,” Professor Orzel wrote, “I really like what I see of the math…

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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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When It Comes to State Standards, “Going It Alone” Hasn’t Worked Well For States

  Seven years ago, most states adopted a higher, comparable baseline of education standards. For the first time, states and districts began a concerted effort to raise academic expectation to levels truly reflective of college and career readiness. In 2016, a majority of states administered high-quality assessments aligned to these higher standards for the second…

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“Overtesting” vs. Fewer, Better Assessments

Parents and community members have often raised concerns about over-testing in schools, wondering whether the amount of time spent taking exams is beneficial to students. But there are some important facts that get lost in this debate. The vast majority of tests that students take each year aren’t required by the federal government. Federal law…

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With High Standards, One Size Does Not Fit All

There is a common misconception shared among opponents that states having similarly high standards means our education system is a one-size-fits-all federal curriculum that fails to “treat children as what they are: unique individuals.” These claims are not only false, but also ignore developments by lawmakers to ensure states have full control over what schools…

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NAEP Scores vs Common Core: What You Need to Know

Critics have argued that decreases in student performance on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are evidence that the Common Core State Standards are having a negative impact. Unfortunately, these assertions are inaccurate – here’s why: For now it’s too soon to link 2015 NAEP scores to higher state standards. Most states are…

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Just the Facts: Dispelling Myths about High Standards and High-Quality, Aligned Assessments

From the beginning, misinformation about the high standards (including the Common Core) and high-quality, aligned assessments has been circulated by opponents on both sides of the aisle. Below we break down some of the most common myths – and provide the facts. MYTH: Common Core is a federal, national curriculum. FACT: The Common Core State…

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Opting Out Isn’t the Answer

Proponents of opting out have been loud in their objections to assessments. However, opt out efforts do more harm than good. Opt out efforts undermine the integrity and value of good exams, and do little to improve testing policy. They put students at a disadvantage – and not just children of families that opt out,…

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Common Core States Dropping Like Flies? Not So Fast.

Since adopting higher academic standards, many states have reviewed their learning goals, and made adjustments to customize them to meet their state’s individual needs. Unfortunately, this has left some confused about whether the states are sticking with Common Core or leaving it behind. The fact is, most states (45 to be exact), the District of…

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High, Consistent Academic Standards Don’t Conflict with Catholic Education

Critics have argued that Common Core State Standards are incompatible with Catholic education because of their focus on workforce preparation. “The basic goal of Common Core is not genuine education, but rather the training and production of workers for an economic machine,” the Pioneer Institute claims. “Common Core is ‘a recipe for standardized workforce preparation’ that…

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High Standards Not A Silver Bullet for the Achievement Gap

One of the strengths of the Common Core is that the standards build strong foundations of the skills students need to succeed at higher levels of learning, by beginning to hold students to higher expectations in early grades. While standards themselves aren’t a silver bullet to close gaps in achievement and opportunity, as more students…

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Replacing Classic Literature with Inappropriate Texts? Not Quite.

States across the country are adopting the Common Core framework to ensure state and local education officials have full control over the content taught in their schools. Yet, to hear some opponents tell it, the shift is removing classic literature from schools entirely and replacing it with “soft-core porn.” The American Spectator reports the “Common Core structure…

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What SB1 Means for Kentucky’s High Standards

  On March 15, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to the passage of SB1 in Kentucky. Today, Kentucky passed SB1, a bill that affirms the state’s control of its education system by enumerating educational priorities and doubling down on high academic standards. The…

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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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