New Hampshire’s implementation of Common Core State Standards is well down the road. I’ve seen it rolled out and working in 5th grade classrooms. Teachers are surprised at how successful they have been and the kids were clearly animated during my visits. But critics persist, some suspicious of federal involvement (the Common Core State Standards are actually an initiative launched from the National Governor’s Association), others critical of various elements of the standards. Here’s a good summary of myths and facts done by the NEA as part of this longer document. Here’s are highlights from EdWeek’s good state-by-state overview of the debate:
Even as supporters say common core remains on track, they say they are taking its opponents seriously.
When the Tennessee education department started getting basic but increasingly frequent questions about the standards—along the lines of “Is the federal government now telling us what textbooks we have to purchase?”—supporters saw the need to act, said state Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman.
“We realized that we had to start at square one and be able to start telling people, ‘OK, this is the story of Tennessee’s engagement with the common core,’ ” Mr. Huffman said.
In recent weeks, there have been renewed efforts in Tennessee from the State Collaborative to Reform Education, or SCORE, a nonprofit group led by former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist that promotes college and career readiness, to counter foes of the common core in the state. Opponents began holding public forums last month where representatives from anti-common-core groups made their case.
On April 30, Score announced that more than 200 groups had signed on to its Expect More, Achieve More Coalition. The coalition, begun by SCORE in 2009 and revived last year to support the common core, includes state businesses and school districts and stresses what it says is the importance of the common core.
The coalition has geared up a social-media campaign to promote the standards. It also released a fact sheet and history that says in part, “Standards do not dictate curriculum (e.g., textbooks and reading lists) or prescribe a method of instruction.”
Mr. Huffman said he’s also lobbied to shore up common-core support among state legislators.
In an op-ed essay earlier this month in The Tennessean, in Nashville, state Sen. Dolores Gresham, a Republican and the chairwoman of the Senate education committee, said the standards would reverse the state’s history of having students perform well on state assessments but poorly on national tests that ask more of them.
Business Leaders for Michigan, a nonprofit group of private-sector leaders in that state, sent an open letter to state political leaders on May 2, urging them to stand by the new standards, after the state House of Representatives passed a budget last month that would defund the common core.
“Adopting the common core gives us even a better way of seeing how well we’re doing. And for the amount of money we’re spending on public education, we should want that,” Doug Rothwell, the president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, said in an interview.
Stand for Children Indiana, a pro-common-core group, which supports broad early-education opportunities and charter schools, released two different 30-second TV advertisements, one on March 5 and another on April 16, defending the standards. The campaign also included radio spots.