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 Balanced assessments West Virginia implemented last year.
According to McGeehan, the standards currently used by West Virgina are “a confused and convoluted set of standards and curriculum forced upon us by the U.S. Department of Education.”
As we have pointed out time and time and time before, states and local educators have led the implementation of high standards free from federal pressure since their onset. States have always been responsible for determining the best course of action for their students, and that’s especially true after the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“Parents no longer can help students with their homework, because they can’t understand the convoluted math that is Common Core,” McGeehan claims.
If that’s the case, why are parents calling for higher standards? Parents overwhelmingly favor high standards and high-quality assessments to ensure their children are prepared for college and careers. Parents also know how these standards promote flexibility and creativity and have a wide variety of tools available to help their children should they need them.
More importantly, higher standards are working. Among the more than 40 states that have adopted and maintained high standards, the vast majority have seen proficiency rates improve. And among third grade students –whose entire academic careers have been guided by high standards – math scores increased by more than three percentage points – and six percentage points in West Virginia!
It doesn’t sound like the students are too confused. But if McGeehan has his way, confusing is a word he will be hearing a lot more often in the future. Just ask the good people of Ohio.
McGeehan also believes West Virginians are currently “paying the bills for a multitude of bureaucrats in Charleston and for confused and convoluted policies that set their children back.” If he’s really worried about “bills” McGeehan may want to look at the costs associated with leaving the standards behind.
Fortunately, West Virginians have been faced with this situation before and know what’s in the best interests of their students. West Virginia’s high, consistent standards are working and there is no reason to abolish them.