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Common confusion: Common Core opponents wrongfully blame standards for testing explosion

common-coreIf you missed it yesterday, be sure to read Lindsay Wagner’s story , “State Board of Education’s authority weakened with legislation that replaces Common Core,” over on the main Policy Watch site. It’s an extremely informative piece that explains the latest developments in North Carolina’s never-ending political game of legislative micromanagement of public schools.

As Wagner reports, lawmakers are poised to repeal the state’s involvement in the Common Core State Standards because of the standards’ supposed widespread unpopularity amongst parents and educators. (There was more action today.) Notwithstanding the fact that the proponents are likely wrong — at least about the attitudes of educators — here’s the part of the story that especially deserves to be highlighted:

It is not Common Core that’s really causing the widespread unrest being felt in many public schools these days as students, teachers and parents deal with the explosion of high-stakes tests. This from Wagner’s story:

“Gov. Pat McCrory says he supports higher standards too, and hopes that the focus of lawmakers’ efforts rests on the testing issue the state grapples with.

‘I think the issue is not the high standards, which we have to have. I think the issue is the implementation and execution, especially with regard to testing,’ McCrory said. ‘I hope they focus more on the testing rather than the concept of requiring high standards.’

But the high number of tests that students in North Carolina take, says [State Superintendent of Public Instruction June] Atkinson, doesn’t have anything to do with Common Core.

‘The tests we see today are a result of the General Assembly’s requirements that were passed into law over the past several years, and the result of the federal No Child Left Behind law. And those testing requirements were in existence before the Common Core standards were developed,’ said Atkinson.

‘There are people who are willing to perpetuate myths, intentionally or unintentionally,’ said Atkinson, ‘about Common Core requirements in terms of testing – and they are simply not true.'”

In other words, North Carolina is about to launch an enormous mid-process shift in state education standards because, in some significant measure, people — including the Governor apparently — are under the misimpression that those standards have something to do with the explosion in the roundly-despised proliferation in high-stakes testing. But the standards have nothing to do with this problem!

What’s next? Denying a half-million people access to public health insurance because of the inaccurate belief that the program to be expanded (Medicaid) is somehow responsible for the overall societal growth in health care costs?

Once again, the General Assembly is doing its best to preserve its well-earned reputation as one of North Carolina’s most visible “fact-free zones.”

2 Comments

  1. Stephanie Lormand

    June 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    It’s really astounding how confused people are about common core, especially those in such vehement opposition.

    http://www.stephanielormand.com/ncs-common-core-standards/

  2. Stefan Anders

    June 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    It is true that Common Core and testing are not directly linked. It is also true that both Common Core and increased testing were part of what states had to promise to do in order to receive Race to the Top Funds. It is also true that the majority of the people who developed the Common Core worked for various testing companies, including David Coleman, lead architect of the standards, who now heads the College Board (think SAT, etc.). And although it is true that the state is about to shift away from the common core standards, it had to shift anyway and adopt these standards. If we can shift one way why not back to something else, to something that was regularly vetted by all major stakeholders, that was changed and adjusted as needed (something we can not do with Common Core standards, which are copyrighted). I am not a big fan of our current legislature (and that’s putting it mildly), but eliminating Common Core is maybe the one good thing to come out of this legislature.