5 States That Have Had Issues with Common Core
Developed by state governors, Common Core Standards are about creating a baseline of knowledge and skills that translates across all states in the nation. One way that equity of education can be assured is through federally-encouraged programs like Common Core Standards.
Despite its noble and auspicious goal, Common Core has drawn criticism throughout the country for various reasons, angering parents, educators, and politicians nationwide. Here are just a few of the many states that have struggled with the Common Core standards:
Indiana was the first state to walk away from Common Core requirements.
In a statement, Gov. Pence said that he believed the students in the state were best served through standards developed at a state or local level. Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association and Indiana adopted the standards in 2010 under then-governor Tony Bennett, also a Republican.
This move drove a few teachers to come out publicly against the change.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, math teacher Joel Gramelspacher called Gov. Pence’s move “slapdash” and said that the quick turnaround for new standards would cause anxiety in teachers and would not serve students well. As teachers spent the past few years redrafting lesson plans and adapting their own mindsets to the new standards, and dropping Common Core meant that they had to change course, and quickly.
Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, who helped develop the PARCC tests, has spoken out publicly against the tests and Common Core standards in general.
“We support higher standards and rigor in the classroom, but every day, concern among parents is growing over Common Core,” Jindal stated.
Jindal’s attempts to drop Common Core requirements in Louisiana have not gone smoothly. He has battled with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), which wanted to keep the standards. In response, Jindal reduced the spending threshold on a variety of school supply necessities, including computers. The BESE voted to hire outside lawyers to sort out the mess that is Common Core versus state-created standards and assessments.
Those are not the only battles Jindal has fought against Common Core proponents. He has also been sued. A black education group, the Black Alliance for Education (BAEO), funded parents and teachers in a lawsuit against Jindal. The BAEO supported the standards and believed all children deserved access to high-quality education.
Another group sued Jindal, citing that he lacked the authority to withdraw his state from the Common Core national academic standards.
Stephen H. Kupperman, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs said, “We think the governor has overstepped his bounds and doesn’t have any right to do this. We don’t want to hold the children of the state hostage to somebody’s ambitions.”
Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill to repeal the Common Core education standards in 2014, ridding Oklahoma schools of the new math and English guidelines that were set to go into effect the coming school year.
The bill was passed in the House and Senate the final day of the 2014 session and required the state to return to previous standards that were used prior to 2010 and encourages new ones to be developed by 2016.
The Common Core standards were adopted in 2010 in Oklahoma and also adopted by over 40 states, but the concern was that the standards represent a federal takeover of education. Gov. Fallin worked hard to mollify these concerns back in December — even signing an executive order that states Oklahoma will be responsible for deciding how to implement the standards – but opposition continued to grow.
The business community actually supports more rigorous standards with the intent to better prepare students for life after high school in college or the workforce.
The Oklahoma Academic Standards, which are aligned with Common Core standards in math and English, were to be reflected in tests administered to students’ during the next school year. State education officials say that over 60 percent of the school districts in the state have already aligned the curriculum with the new standards.
Some parent groups in California have urged schools to keep the old key elements of math in place instead of adhering to the new Common Core method of teaching the subject.
Parents rebelled out of fear that their children would not get to take calculus, a subject they believe is key in competition for college admission.
Math educators who back the new Common Core standards insist they provide a needed grounding in math concepts compared with the approach of old math that has led to U.S. students’ poor performance in global math tests and the countrywide phobia of the subject. Common Core organizes math topics into related groups, similar to math teachers in high-performing countries. It focuses on problem-solving skill, not memorization.
Those who back the new standards warn against dividing students into different tracks in middle school.
But many high-performing districts retain the fast pace of old math instruction while adopting the new standards. Saratoga, Cupertino, Pleasanton, and Palo Alto schools pride themselves on high test scores, but maintain some accelerated math tracks in middle school. Those paths put students on track to take calculus in high school.
Two Republican senators filed legislation to repeal common core in Tennessee and create a new panel to recommend different standards for public schools.
The new standards, which have phased into Tennessee classrooms for the past four years, must be in place when K-12 public students enter schools in the 2016-17 school year.
The move to repeal Common Core is designed to guarantee Tennessee students continue to learn and improve by applying the highest standards and wielding state control over education.
The bill cancels the current memorandum of understanding with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers or Common Core standards for English, Language Arts and Math. Both groups were involved in the push for Common Core standards.
In 2014, Common Core critics demanded a delay in the state’s testing based on the new standards after conservative grounds charged Common Core was the work of President Obama and amounted to a federal effort to take over education.
The standards were developed and underway long before Obama became president, but the administration embraced the standards intended to put states on the same page with respect to what students should know in English and math.
Inequality of resources and opportunities for American K-12 children runs rampant and affects every member of society. When children are not given basic access to the same education as their peers, the country cannot progress the way it should. This was what Common Core was meant to address. But are these standards really the best way to create a better standard of education in the U.S.?