This month, the group End Common Core Massachusetts delivered enough signatures to secure a ballot question to voters in November 2016 about repealing the state’s Common Core Standards. The move puts voters one step closer to returning to “proven pre-2010 Massachusetts standards,” the group’s leader Donna Colorio claims.
Massachusetts has long been a national leader on education issues. In 2010, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously to voluntarily adopt the Common Core because the standards were more rigorous than those it used before.
“All along, the conversation about Common Core has been about the Commonwealth seizing the opportunity to improve upon our already high standards,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville at the time. “Today’s action ensures that Massachusetts will continue to be the recognized leader not only in performance but in setting the direction for nation’s future education reforms.”
Since then, state education officials have reaffirmed their commitment to Common Core State Standards and high-quality assessments. “[The national media has] inaccurately described Massachusetts as ‘abandoning’ the Common Core and PARCC. We have not abandoned either one,” Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester clarified last month.
By replacing the Common Core, Massachusetts would take a step backwards, subjecting students and teachers to inferior academic expectations and creating uncertainty in classrooms. Voters should consider the tumultuous path in Oklahoma, the only state to replace the Common Core with demonstrably different education standards, before they allow politics to uproots the state’s investment in the Common Core.