Common Core proponents are doing their best to boost public perceptions of new national standards and tests as the fall implementation deadline looms.
Last week, Vox reported, “Common Core tests are in classrooms—and they’re actually working.”
But then the article’s author, Libby Nelson, goes on to state:
There have been glitches and frustration, yet the feedback has also been positive.… Districts and states are arguably learning something more important: whether tests will work (emphasis added).
Early feedback from the states, however, suggests that there might be more frustration than esteem for the new tests.
New York and Kentucky are still the only two states to have fully implemented the standards and begun testing—others are only in the field-testing stage. Their results last year were emblematic of things to come.
Due to testing complications, Kentucky was forced to discontinue scoring for one of Common Core’s prized components: the constructed-response questions, which are meant to test students’ critical thinking abilities.
Furthermore, Kentucky recently announced it is withdrawing from the Common Core–aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC) exam. In a letter to Mitchell D. Chester, the chairman of PARCC’s governing board, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), education commissioner Terry Holliday, and state board president Roger Marcum said that the state is withdrawing due to fiscal costs, among other things.
New York is also facing similar battles as parents question the national standards and tests and seek ways for their children to “opt out.”
Common Core and the effort to create national standards and tests is a push to centralize what children are being taught in school. The glitches, frustration, and failures of Common Core implementation are symptoms of the greater problem of national standards: They further distance educational decision-making authority from the hands of parents and local leadership who know the children’s needs far better than distant bureaucrats do.