There are almost 70 education bills filed, too many to keep you up to date on along the other posts on the ANHPE site, so we have made a special site called “Education Bills,” where you can track the bills you’re interested in and even get specialized daily emails with everything about those bills, from hearing times to news articles and testimony.
The new site is here and, as you see, it is also the far right item on the menu at the top of this page. You can “Follow” the site to keep up to the minute or subscribe to newsletters that cover your specific areas of interest.
When Republicans won majorities in statehouses across the nation, many newly-elected leaders assumed it would be the end of the Common Core standards. However, even states with conservative majorities have seen almost no real policy change regarding the standards. In an article for Education Post, conservative communication strategist and Executive Director at the Collaborative for Student Success, Karen Nussle, says that these repeal efforts have amounted to “more fizzle than spark.”
Common Core math standards too challenging for little kids? This teacher and early childhood expert says, “Not at all!”
Critics of Common Core often argue that the standards–particularly the math standards–are too challenging and are developmentally inappropriate for children. Indeed, it was the basis of several testimonies to the House and Senate Education Committee when they were considering bills on standards and testing in this legislative session.
But Douglas H. Clements, an expert on early childhood education (holder of the University of Denver’s Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and serves as the Executive Director of the Marsico Institute of Early Learning and Literacy), disagrees. In an article featured in Preschool Matters, he and his co-authors say that people use the phrase “developmentally appropriate” as a “Rorschach test for whatever a person wants to see or argue against.” (more…)
New Hampshire has become a leader in the nation’s education reform efforts, from piloting an innovative assessment program (PACE) to student-centered “extended learning opportunities” where students participate in volunteer work, internships, or independent study in lieu of traditional classroom study. (more…)
The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation featured an article on NH’s PACE program that, for the first time, begins to reduce the number of standardized tests students must take in their academic careers. The institute’s education research arm works to transform “monolithic, factory-model systems into student-centered designs,” so it is no wonder why they are interested in our innovative testing program. The Institute writes:
…The U.S. Department of Education made a groundbreaking decision to allow four school systems in New Hampshire to pilot a new accountability regime based on a mix of local and state assessments. This first-of-its-kind policy marks an important policy development for competency-based systems and signals a move in the right direction for federal accountability.
It’s not surprising that the state furthest along in moving to a competency-based system—in which students advance based upon mastery, rather than seat time—is leading the way to new testing regimes… The focus on competency-based education is by no means a new effort in New Hampshire… the state has been transitioning to competency-based practice for over a decade. This shift to competency-based models has been a gradual one. Despite a bold 2005 state policy mandating that high schools measure credit in terms of mastery rather than instructional time, the wide variation in implementation that persists today is largely due to the state’s strong tradition of local control.
…These experiments in assessment can lend the nation a vision of a future of testing that is both more humane and a more accurate benchmark of individual student mastery.
The full article can be found here.
In first, four N.H. school districts shake up testing with Feds’ approval– Christian Science Monitor
Over the past month, New Hampshire has been getting nationwide recognition for a first-in-the-nation pilot program that moves beyond the annual standardized assessment schools have been giving for years. It’s called the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot project. PACE was featured in the Christian Science Monitor as a solution to fears of overtesting, as the program reduces the number of statewide standardized tests administered in elementary and middle school and replaces some of them with locally designed assessments:
“It fits into a much bigger conversation about … how we can create a humane assessment system that’s useful to teachers but also useful to states and the federal government for holding schools accountable,” says Julia Freeland, a research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, based in San Mateo, Calif.
With this hybrid model, the occasional state testing becomes more of an “audit, which is a really appropriate role of a state assessment system,” says Scott Marion, associate director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment in Dover, N.H. This way, teachers can get information that improves their teaching, and the state verifies that they aren’t wildly off base when they say their assessments show student proficiency.
Not only does the PACE pilot “reduce the level of testing, which has reached a level of insanity,” says Mr. Schaeffer [of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing], but it shifts toward “better measures of what students know and can do.” It “is a potentially significant crack in the wall of government-mandated standardized testing, not just for New Hampshire, but nationally,” he says.
Read full article here.
Here’s a great video by Vox, the news website that’s all about the bottom line reality of issues in the news. In other words, the video is not from an advocacy group. And it shows in 3 minutes and 11 seconds why the Common Core standards want our second graders to understand more about subtraction than “borrow the one.” (more…)
Here in New Hampshire, it’s easy to lose perspective on how important the PACE pilot program is. Years in preparation, it is the nation’s first step beyond standardized testing. The four participating districts – Sanborn, Rochester, Epping and Souhegan – are doing hard creative work that will clear the way for other districts in New Hampshire and eventually throughout the country.
That’s why Kentucky education commissioner said, (more…)
New Hampshire’s current science standards are nine years old and will need to be updated soon. The Governor’s STEM Task Force, including business, teachers, scientists and many others, recommended that the starting point be the widely respected Next Generation Science Standards, based on the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education. So in the coming months, the New Hampshire State Board of Education may begin the process of reviewing the standards.
The Union Leader reports that the House adopted a variety of education bills this week, many regarding state standards, assessment, and curriculum. Arguing in favor of HB 276, bill sponsor Rep. Rick Ladd said that school boards should be allowed to adopt their own standards, while Rep. Mary Heath pointed out that no current law requires districts to adopt the Common Core standards, leaving them free to choose their own without the help of the bill.