Guest Post by Steven M. Baule, Superintendent, North Boone CUSD 200, IL.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC are in the news again. A year ago, the CCSS seemed inevitable to be implemented as the de facto national standards 47 states had adopted them. Recently, the Michigan legislature recently voted to prohibit spending state dollars on Common Core implementation. It awaits the governor’s signature. Wisconsin has asked for a thorough review of the new standards before implementation. Kansas law makers recently attempted to drop the CCSS but that bill failed. The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has asked for more time to implement the standards and a moratorium on any negative consequences due to the higher standards promulgated by the CCSS.
Meanwhile, PARCC, the assessment consortium of 21 states plus DC, released two content-specific PowerPoints to provide overviews of various specifications and to assist in interpreting the information included in them. As 15 states don’t have federally approved assessments in place, it appears that PARCC (& Smarter Balance) assessments are moving forward even as the standards they are based on are meeting concerns from both the left and right sides of the educational reform movement. The Next Generation Science Standards, which are to compliment the CCSS, have been announced under the cooperative auspices of 26 states to further complicate the landscape. However, IT staff are still going to need to prepare to implement some type of online testing while the instructional staff will need to prepare for whatever standards states will eventually adopt.