Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

GUEST COLUMNIST: Common Core Repeal Argument Unconvincing

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

GUEST COLUMNIST: Common Core Repeal Argument Unconvincing

Article excerpt

This week, Sen. Rusty Glover invited feedback on his proposal to repeal the Common Core standards for Alabama. He fails to convince me of the merits of his plan.

First, he notes that the Common Core standards are "unproven." True. In most states, Common Core standards have not been implemented long enough to allow long-term assessment. Kentucky, which has the most experience with them, saw a drop in student performance in the first year of testing -- as did Alabama. Even proponents of Common Core acknowledge that initially, states should expect a drop. When the Fordham Institute compared each state's previous and Common Core standards, it found that the latter are more demanding than many if not most of the earlier standards, and, in addition, are more clearly written and cohesive. Might that fact account, in part, for a drop?

However, since that first year, Kentucky's test scores have slowly risen. In 2013-2014, the third year of testing, elementary students showed the greatest improvement in both reading and math, followed by middle school students. The elementary subgroup of students who typically perform worst on standardized tests made the most dramatic gains in reading and math proficiency. High school student performance was mixed. Educational Commissioner Terry Holliday declares that Kentucky is on the "right track" with these standards.

Glover also addresses Alabama's previous educational standards, which Fordham found less rigorous than Common Core standards. After almost a decade, those standards had helped; Alabama moved from 40th to 34th in student performance. Glover fails to explain why still higher -- in many cases -- Common Core standards will be "limiting our ability to excel and putting our students at risk." As a retired educator, he knows that raising educational performance is neither quick nor easy. Both teachers and students must adjust to new teaching and learning methods. Teachers may require additional training.

Citing teacher disenchantment with Common Core, Glover notes Education Next's 2014 survey of 5,266 teachers, parents and the public. …

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