Secretary Arne Duncan announced that he will allow states to request additional time before using the outcome of new assessments based on the new Common Core State Standards.
Although the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were in development for a long time, the NYS adopted them in 2010 and has been implementing them ever since. State assessment testing — also called high-stakes testing — was implemented to align with federal Common Core standards this year. Starting in April and continuing in June, students and parents felt the full impact of the new “standards”. The tests (field tests) benefiting just the tests developing company were described in the previous post. Parents asked questions about the meaning of excessive testing instead of learning.
Thousands of parents didn’t stop at questioning, but refused their children to participate in the tests. They wrote letters to their representatives and results are slowly showing up. Three states that originally adopted the CCSS withdrew their participation. Bills addressing the Common Core issues from various viewpoints and asking to withdraw from the CCSS were introduced on federal and state levels. Selected bills introduced in Congress and New York are listed below.
The parents are not the only driving force of this activism. As I was compiling resources for this post, teachers and administrators were rallying in Albany as well as major cities in other states. Evidently, their opinions had some impact. A. Ducan, the secretary of education, announced a “slower” implementation of teachers evaluation, as you can read in The New York Times article. Clearly, the education field is evolving while we read about it.
The school and legislative sessions are out, but a lot of work remains to be done. Next testing and data-mining season is coming in September. Introducing the bills doesn’t mean they’ll be approved. It’s upon us, parents, to explain to elected officials why testing is not learning. None of the bills above would get introduced, if there wasn’t for activists lobbying the elected representatives.
Bill in Congress
H.R. 5: The Student Success Act (Congressman J. Kline, June 6, 2013)
Bills in New York
A07994-2013: Relates to the common core state standards initiative and the race to the top program. (A. Graf, June 13, 2013)
S4764-2013: Relates to standardized testing for grades kindergarten through grade two. (Gipson, April 23, 2013)
The following bills address the issue of unfunded mandates:
S5043-2013: Relates to the effect of mandates on school districts. (Grisanti, May 7, 2013)
A7701-2013: Relates to the effect of mandates on school districts. (Walter, May 31, 2013, counterpart to the Senate bill above)
Since New York is one of three states participating in data-mining program conducted by inBloom (owned by Rupert Murdoch), several bills address that issue as well:
A7243-2013: Enacts the “K12 student privacy and cloud computing act”. (Simotas, May 8,2013)
A6059-2013: Relates to the release of personally identifiable student information. (O’Donnell, March 13, 2013)
A7872-2013: Relates to the release of personally identifiable student information. (A. Nolan, June 6, 2013)