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Op-Ed: State Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio Reviews Standards, Testing Policy

In an op-ed in the Concord Monitor today (here is a full version with links to the statutes discussed), Chairman of the NH State Board of Education and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental Tom Raffio reviewed the State Board’s role in education policy and setting education standards. Fundamentally, Mr. Raffio reminds us that “[i]t may seem at times as if the State Board of Education and the Department of Education create policy. We do not. We implement the policies passed by our Legislature.”

With so much misinformation circulating about education standards and assessments, Mr. Raffio sets the record straight: state standards and accompanying tests have been in place in New Hampshire since the early 1990s. State law requires educational standards, while specifically emphasizing the importance of local control in meeting those standards.

Raffio clarifies a number of other hot-button education issues. On opting-out, Raffio reminds us that while no one likes standardized tests, they’re simply a part of life–from getting a driver’s license to going to college to joining the military. They also give parents and teacher valuable information about student progress, and help add accountability to our schools.

Read Raffio’s full op-ed here.

Mom Lee Laughlin researched the arguments on both sides and supports the standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment

In an article for the Concord Monitor, New Hampshire-based writer Lee Laughlin writes that the anti-testing rhetoric is so obscure that she needs to rely on her communications degree to decipher the message. A parent of school-aged children, she has heard the arguments both for and against the Smarter Balanced assessment that New Hampshire and many other states use, has done her research, and had her son take the test this year: (more…)

Common Core repeal efforts stall in face of public support for higher standards

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…)

If you think “Common Core math” is confusing, watch this video!

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…)

House adopts variety of anti-assessment bills –Union Leader

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.


Confused about the Common Core? NPR breaks it down.

The debate over the Common Core State Standards has been fraught with myths and misinformation. As New Hampshire considers a variety of bills this legislative session, you might find yourself wondering: What is the Common Core? Why do we need it? NPR breaks down these questions and more:

What is the Common Core? The Common Core State Standards Initiative is the largest-ever attempt in the United States to set unified expectations for what students in kindergarten through 12th grade should know and be able to do in each grade in preparation for college and the workforce. In short, the standards are meant to get every student in America on the same page. Right now, the Common Core standards cover two areas: math and English language arts (writing and reading). They were developed by a group of governors, chief state school officers and education experts from 48 states. To date, 44 states and the District of Columbia have formally adopted the new standards. By Spring of 2015, most of these states plan to administer state tests that have been aligned to the new standards.

Read the rest of the FAQs here.


Embracing Common Core as a building block for state standards: A Florida principal’s experience

In a response letter to a worried New York principal, a high school principal in Ocala, Florida wrote of her state’s enthusiastic adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). (more…)

Guess What, Mom? Common Core Can Be Good for Your Kindergartener – Erika Sanzi

Here’s a smart and well observed piece on learning to read:

I am always torn when I read pieces like that of Sarah Blaine, who shared her views on the Common Core State Standards for kindergartners. The gist of her piece, published on Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog, is that based on her personal experience with her two daughters, she sees the standards as “developmentally inappropriate” for kindergartners.


James Milgram: “Are you going to believe me or your lyin’ eyes”

No.  Dr. Milgram didn’t say that.  But he might as well have.  Next time you hear some theoretical debate about whether the Common Core is developmentally appropriate, think of this video.

See more here.