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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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New Math? Common Core Math?

Every few months, it seems that a new article circulates highlighting parent concerns about math. Their child brought home a worksheet with problem-solving methods that they haven’t seen before or the problems seem longer than the shortcuts that parents learned when they were in school – and they are rightfully frustrated. What’s important to remember…

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Let’s Stop Perpetuating the Myth that Teachers Hate High Standards

  Opponents often claim that high, comparable standards rigidly dictate to educators what to teach and how to teach it. That point of view makes it easier to assume that teachers themselves roundly oppose the high, consistent expectations. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth: teacher support for keeping the bar high for students…

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Think High Standards Aren’t Working? Think Again.

Some critics of high standards – including the Common Core – are so bent on turning the public against the standards that they’ve claimed, loudly, that high standards aren’t working. Unfortunately for them, results from this year’s state assessments – which are aligned to higher education standards – paint a very different picture. In a…

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Repealing and Replacing High Standards and Assessments Leads to Significant Costs and Disruption

After years of development, planning and implementation, most states have established a rigorous and comparable baseline for student achievement. Most have matched those higher expectations with high-quality assessments, giving parents and teachers more accurate information about how prepared their students are to move on to next-level content, and ultimately to enter college or a career….

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Changes to Eighth-Grade Math: What Parents Need to Know

One of the hallmarks of states’ implementation of high, comparable education standards are changes to math instruction – which we have written about a lot. Starting in early grades, teachers are encouraging students to explore multiple problem-solving strategies, which help build conceptual understanding  with numbers and functions, and also help students complete math problems quickly…

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Comparable Education Standards Will Rewrite History (and Other Outrageous Claims)

  “What happens when we stop teaching American exceptionalism to our students? What happens when the American history they are taught is not the one you and I were taught, but a history of grievances?” That was a question posed by then-Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to a crowd in Washington, DC, last year. Comparable education…

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Concerned about Your Student’s Homework? Talk to Your Local Teacher or School Board

  As states have put in place higher education standards, classroom instruction has shifted to put a greater emphasis on critical thinking and conceptual understanding, especially in math. In addition to traditional methods, students are encouraged to explore multiple problem-solving techniques, which help students build fluency with numbers and functions. By becoming familiar with a…

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With Higher Standards, Teachers Using Even More Creative Approaches

When Elizabeth Little, a middle school teacher in California, started developing lesson plans to help her students achieve to the state’s new, more rigorous math standards, she got creative. In place of pencil-and-paper worksheets, Little designed s series of hands-on projects that required students to apply the skills they were learning to build things –…

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Local Control Alive and Well in States that Adopted Common Core State Standards

Opponents of high, comparable standards have often claimed that the Common Core State Standards were federally-driven and forced upon states. Statements like these have led some to believe – erroneously – that the federal government also controls what is taught in the classroom. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. States and school districts are…

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Education Standards Have No Bearing on Student Data Policies

Fact Check Data are useful tools for educators. They empower teachers to identify learning trends, determine what’s working and where students need support, hone instruction and support development. It’s not a new practice, either. Policymakers and administrators have used aggregate data at the local, state and federal levels to inform education policies for years. For example,…

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High-Quality Assessments: Good and Getting Better

Fact Check There are many tools educators and parents have to measure their students’ development, but none is more important than good assessments. Exams that challenge students and offer an accurate measure of understanding empower families to provide support when and where their kids need it most. They inform teachers so they can build on…

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Federal Overreach? Common Core Is – and Always Has Been – a State and Local Initiative

Fact Check Seven years ago, state leaders identified a problem: inconsistent and low academic standards created big discrepancies in classroom expectations and student achievement. So leaders from across the country got to work. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers worked together to compose a set of learning goals that…

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Many States Are Bringing Back Cursive Writing. Common Core Supporters Are Cool with That

The Common Core State Standards are often incorrectly blamed for a decline in cursive instruction. Last fall, the Today Show reported, “Many critics of the trend point the finger at the Common Core State Standards… The initiative requires ‘keyboarding skills,’ but doesn’t make any mention of cursive, prompting many school districts to limit or drop…

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Setting the Record Straight: Common Core isn’t a test, it’s a set of academic standards.

Time and time again, we’ve seen articles across the country conflate assessments with standards when talking about Common Core. Many outlets last year incorrectly reported parents in New York were “opting out of Common Core,” when in fact, is was the state assessment that they took issue with. Similarly, in this piece, a (hopefully) one-time glitch…

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