District Administration November 2017 - 16

BeyondtheNews

The Common Core has lost another
state, at least in name. In September,
New York's Board of Regents voted to
revise the standards and drop the Common Core name in favor of "Next Generation Learning Standards."
The updates, which range from eliminating some standards entirely to small
wording changes to others, will roll out
in September 2020.
New York is not alone. As of January
2017, 21 other states had revised or were
changing the Common Core, according
to an analysis from Abt Associates, an
international research firm that studies
education, among other fields. At that
point, of the 46 states that originally
adopted the Common Core, eight had
officially repealed or withdrawn, and 17
had not yet made any changes.
"There was a lot of backlash to the
Common Core, and we did see a lot
of states wanting to find ways to make
those standards more their own," said Julie Rowland Woods, policy analyst at the
Education Commission of the States.
Simple changes
After further analyzing nine of the
states that had made revisions-Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida,
Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio
and Utah-Abt Associates found that
most changes were very minor. In ELA,
just 23 percent of the standards were
changed. The most common revisions
were clarifying or rewording concepts,
and reformatting materials. For math,
27 percent of the standards were
changed, primarily with similar word
clarifications as well as additions to
make the standards more rigorous.
For example, one state clarified a
fifth-grade math standard "Use place
16 November 2017

GETTYIMAGES.COM: GJOHNSTONPHOTO

Common Core no more?
New York and 21 other states revise or rename standards

value understanding to round decimals to any place" by adding "millions
through hundredths." Another added
the word "perspective" to the high school
ELA standard "Analyze a particular
point of view, perspective, or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature
from outside the United States, drawing
on a wide reading of world literature."
In other words, "the Common Core
experiment worked," says Jill Norton,
principal associate of social and economic policy at Abt Associates. "Most
states are still using Common Core, or a
version of Common Core standards."
It also remains to be seen if the eight
states that repealed the standards will
replace them with something similar, or
something drastically different, Norton
says. No state has repealed the standards
since December 2015.
Fading fears
The controversy over the standards
has largely died down, says Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings
Institution. "A lot of states have simply

rebranded the standards, changing the
name or slightly tinkering with them
without making any great change in
substance," Loveless says. "That to me
suggests that it's more a political response than anything else."
This is likely the case in New York,
where the standards generated substantial resistance, and where the opt-out
movement was popular, says Mindy
Kornhaber, associate professor of education at Penn State. "No doubt policy and
political lessons have been gleaned from
the initial reform effort," Kornhaber
says. "Whether the public is now sufficiently cooled down for the policy to be
smoothly implemented, time will tell."
Curriculum and PD also need updates when states revise standards, Norton says. States also must ensure their
assessments are aligned with the changes.
"One purpose of the Common Core
was to help make education systems
more comparable across the states,"
Rowland Woods says. "The more you
tweak them, the less comparable they
can be."
-Alison DeNisco
District Administration


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

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