Saturday, March 9, 2013

Which Came First? The Common Core Standards Or Assessments and Accountability?

This is how the Federal Government got their grubby hands on our schools in order to force-feed us the new "state-led" Common Core Standards.
Many who have been out pushing Common Core have been claiming that you have to "talk Standards before you can talk Assessments and Accountability."
The reality is that the CCSS were developed AFTER Obama changed the reporting and accountability requirements in an effort to be more "common" among the states.  This naturally led to claiming that if you're going to have an accurate accountability system, then you need to have a common curriculum.  To be fair and all.

From the 2013 Grad Nation Report:
"NCLB marked the first time, on a national basis, that schools and school districts were held accountable for graduation rates. The accountability pressure exerted to raise graduation rates, however, was largely muted when the states were allowed to determine how they would measure graduation rates...from their schools. Not until the U.S. Department of Education’s 2008 graduation rate regulations were all states required, beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, to report a common graduation rate measure and to set ambitious graduation rate goals and rates of progress for all students and all subgroups.

As a result of the failure to reauthorize NCLB, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) responded to requests from states to create flexibility through waivers from some of the provisions of federal law. This waiver process required states to adopt a core set of education reforms—implementation of the common core standards, turn-arounds of their lowest-performing schools, and teacher and principal evaluation systems.


In 2005, members of the National Governors Association, deeply concerned about strategies for improving schools, reached consensus that high school graduation rates should be calculated in a uniform way across the states; then, in a pioneering compact, they generated a formula for doing so.

The formula and associated definitions were later refined in a rulemaking document released by the U.S. Department of Education in December 2008. States were expected to report graduation rates using the Cohort Rate beginning with school year 2010-2011.

With the timely reauthorization of NCLB stalled in Congress, and with NCLB in need of improvements, in 2012 the Department of Education (ED) created a flexibility policy for states (“waivers”) to create some positive revisions to NCLB in the absence of legislative action and to 'better focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction.' "

The goal of the waivers is to 'provide educators and state and local leaders with exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.' "


Within this flexibility policy, "ED is maintaining the reporting requirements under the 2008 regulations."

"The most recent data on graduation rates and the challenges that remain for the nation to reach a 90% high school graduation rate provide support for ED’s continued push through flexibility waivers and the school improvement grant program for dramatic reforms in high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent."

(Remember, it was Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, who said, "The fact is, higher standards will make some of your states look bad at the same time.  So, I promise to work WITH you to ensure that your states will NOT be penalized for doing the RIGHT THING.")

"These data also suggest the need for federal policy to maintain and strengthen accountability for raising the graduation rates of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency.   



As the most recent graduation rate data show, the students furthest from this goal are those who will need the most help to meet the Common Core State Standards - students who are economically disadvatages, have disabilities, or have limited English proficiency.

Although Common Core outlines standards specific to ELA and mathematics, and will eventually do so for science and social studies, many educators believe standards should be developed for other areas of study and student competencies."

The Science Standards are set to roll out this month....