Maybe it’s ignorance. Maybe it’s intentional. Whatever the case, there’s been a flurry of recent articles suggesting that the Common Core State Standards have been foisted on states that never adopted the learning goals.
We responded to an article recently that alleged an opt-out law in Alaska was a way to “put education back into the hands of state and local bodies” – even though there was nothing to suggest it had ever been removed. This week, an article in TexasInsider.org suggests state officials are “very adamant” the Common Core is being used in Texas.
In the first in a series of articles, columnist Carole Hornsby contends “Common Core process standards have managed to creep into [Texas’] math materials and STARR tests.”
However, Texas was one of five states that never adopted high, comparable education standards. In fact, as the article acknowledges, the state passed a law prohibiting the adoption of Common Core State Standards. So the idea that the standards are quietly being pushed in the state is a hard pill to swallow.
The article goes on to claim that the standards are “linked directly to Hillary Clinton,” are a plot to subject students to “cradle to the grave” surveillance, and “have very low expectations” – which are demonstrably untrue.
The Common Core was developed by educators, experts and state leaders from across the country. The federal government (including Hillary Clinton) played no role in their development. The standards were always meant to set a rigorous baseline from which states could continue to build – and that’s exactly what they have done. In that regard the standards have achieved their purpose.
A Harvard University study notes, “The Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”
To the point of purported student surveillance, education standards have no impact on states’ student-data policies. In fact, if a state were to replace its education standards tomorrow, it would have no effect on what information is collected, how it’s collected or how it’s used. Moreover, at least four federal laws and more state laws expressly prohibit schools from releasing data that could jeopardize a student’s privacy.
“While such Orwellian predictions are effective in raising alarm, they simply aren’t true,” Rob McKenna, the former Attorney General of Washington State, explains. “I encourage parents to read [their state’s education standards]. They will find no mention of data-collection mandates.”
Finally, this year, most states administered assessments aligned to higher standards for the second consecutive year. Student proficiency increased and many of the biggest gains came among third-grade students, who have spent the entirety of their academic careers learning to meet higher standards.
“More than 40 states have maintained high standards, and now that we have multiple years of results with high quality assessments, we can see that higher standards are leading to improved outcomes,” Jim Cowen explains.
“These findings send a clear message that now is the time to double-down on the standards and high expectations we have for our kids,” Hanna Skandera, education secretary in New Mexico, adds.