Springfield IL School Board Candidate Defends Common Core Despite Concerns

WMAY News -

A candidate for Springfield school board says Common Core is good for students… but it may problematic for parents.

Nicole Evans is seeking the seat being vacated by Scott McFarland… who is running for the Springfield City Council.  She says the controversial Common Core standards are reason-based and will help kids be competitive in the global economy.  But she says it represents a big change in the teaching strategies their parents grew up with.

She vows if elected to look for ways to help parents be more engaged and better-equipped to assist their students with homework.



Posted in Common Core Politics, Illinois Common Core | 2 Comments

Common Core Tests Tied to Graduation in Some States #stopcommoncore #ccss

Note:  The Illinois School Code state that beginning no later than 2017-18, Illinois students who are not assessed for ‘college and career readiness’ (a.k.a. common core) will not receive a H.S. diploma.

Christian Science Monitor -

States trying to give teeth to the Common Core by tying new tests to graduation requirements are bumping up against resistance.

Forty-three states are currently signed on to the Common Core State Standards, a voluntary system designed to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for college. New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington are among a smaller number starting to link graduation requirements to the new and more challenging Common Core testing systems.

For supporters, the moves are a natural part of the transition from the adoption phase of Common Core to actually implementing the standards in a meaningful way. But an array of critics say the process is moving way too fast.

New Jersey is planning to roll out its tests before it has even decided what the passing scores will be – essentially experimenting with the first students who take it. Meanwhile, Maryland is planning to divide its test results into two tiers, a move that critics say waters down the essential purpose of Common Core.

In all, 24 states currently have “exit exams” that students have to pass to get their high school diploma (though alternatives are available for certain situations). At least 10 states may use new Common Core tests in the coming years for graduation requirements, according to a report by New America, a public policy foundation in Washington.

The challenges being encountered by New Jersey, Maryland, and others point to potential speed bumps along the way.

“Common Core tests are not ready for prime time,” says Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Boston.


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Bushnell-Prairie City School District parents rally against Common Core

The McDonough County Voice -

By Lainie Steelman


A group of parents in the Bushnell-Prairie City School District are rallying together against Common Core, the controversial, state-by-state initiative that sets new learning standards in English and math at each grade level.

Illinois joined more than 40 states in adopting Common Core learning standards. Rebecca Taylor, who has three children in elementary school, junior high and high school, initiated the group last month and started a Facebook page, “Stop Common Core in our school.”

The group plans to hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bushnell’s VFW Park and to attend the Wednesday, Oct. 15, B-PC Board of Education meeting.

Taylor’s goal is encourage the school district to “opt out” of Common Core so that other school districts around the state can follow suit.

Taylor said she decided to band together parents opposed to Common Core after noticing Facebook comments about how children and parents alike were struggling with understanding math homework.

Under Common Core, children learn higher-level math at earlier grade levels. They’re also asked to think deeper, solve problems in more than one way and to explain how they know an answer.

State-standardized testing under Common Core has also changed. This year, students will take the PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, an online assessment designed to test students on Illinois’ new Common Core-aligned learning standards.

“The high schooler, he’s not affected by it yet,” Taylor said of Common Core. “My other two children, they don’t like it. They are struggling with it. They were both in high level math classes last year, but this year has been tough. I think it’s hard to throw in something completely new when they’ve been doing it one way for so long.”

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Breitbart -

by Dr. Sandra Stotsky,

There seems to be some confusion in state departments of education about what that copyright on Common Core’s standards actually means.

Some staffers seem to think it means that the standards revision committees, set in motion by a governor’s executive order or a state legislature, can alter these standards in any way they want.

Even if the state board or department of education has changed the name of the state’s standards (as, for example, in Alaska, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania), added a few footnotes (as in North Dakota), switched the order of Common Core’s standards (as in Florida), shortened the introductory matter (as in Alaska), or removed some of the examples in parentheses (as in Pennsylvania) – to disguise the fact that the actual standards are still Common Core, it doesn’t matter. Common Core’s standards themselves cannot be altered without permission from the holders of the copyright: the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Moreover, they must be used to promote the Common Core initiative.

This was made clear in a letter dated September 29, 2014, from Richard Laine, Director of the Education Division for the National Governors Association, to the Missouri School Boards Association. The letter concerned Common Core’s “public license grant” to the states. Laine asserted that any use of a selected excerpt or portion of the Common Core State Standards must be directed to the support of Common Core itself.

This paragraph is also at the website for the Common Core standards:

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) hereby grant a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative. These uses may involve the Common Core State Standards as a whole or selected excerpts or portions.

In other words, states are not free to change the meaning of any of Common Core’s standards. Nor is there a mechanism or schedule for its copyright holders to do so.

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Reframing the Common Core discussion: A battle for our freedom #stopcommoncore #ccss

Betrayed – Why Public Education Is Failing

By Laurie H. Rogers

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell

If I were to build a list of the worst systemic problems in public education, the Common Core State Standards would not be at the top of the list. The Common Core (CCSS) is a huge problem, to be sure. It’s dictatorial, inadequate, experimental, expensive, developmentally inappropriate, politically infused – it’s nearly everything critics have said it is. But it isn’t the worst problem we face.

That dishonor goes to The Network, a moniker I’ve given to the conglomeration of corporate and government interests (and their allies) that have seized control of America’s classrooms. The Network is huge – containing most of the K-12 education mob, plus its allies in the Department of Education; colleges of education; unions; media; government agencies, associations and legal teams; foundations; corporations; legislatures; fundraising groups; colleges and universities; business; and even the courts.

The Network prefers to operate quietly, promoting supposedly good intentions. Its hallmark phrase: “It’s all about the kids.” But try opposing The Network on behalf of a child – yours or anyone else’s. If you can’t be put off, persuaded, ignored, bullied or bought out, The Network has no problem getting nasty. The more honest and honorable you are, the nastier The Network becomes.

This isn’t about left or right, Democrat or Republican. It’s about “in” and “out”; money and power; agenda and ideology. The Network spends a lot of taxpayer money growing itself, feeding itself and shielding itself from accountability. The bigger it is, the more power it has. The more power it has, the more friends it gains. The more friends it gains, the more money it gets. The more money it gets, the bigger it grows – even as it completely fails our children. Allies of all stripes play along.

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Building the Machine Part 2: Parents speak out against Common Core #stopcommoncore #ccss

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IL GOP legislators line up against new standards #stopcommoncore #ccss

Pekin Daily Times -


Illinois has entered its second school year with the new Common Core standards in place, and because of a broken state education funding formula, it appears it’s here to stay.

Republican local lawmakers are concerned about the implications of the new system. Democrats say the law was just put in place, and it needs time to gain momentum.

Common Core was introduced to Illinois in 2010 and implemented through the Illinois State Board of Education. Some state lawmakers took objection to that, including state Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap.

“Something this big and this major to go through the state board of education was a mistake because there were no hearings, there was no discussion with the people, parents, teachers to have a say in this,” LaHood said. He said it should have gone through the legislative process, where lawmakers would get their chance to vote on the issue.

LaHood’s colleague across the aisle, state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Quincy, said Common Core needs time to settle into the fabric of this state’s education system.

“It’s early in the process. Whenever you implement a process like this it takes time,” Sullivan said. “It looks like there needs to be more time to phase this new program in.” However, another Democratic lawmaker is skeptical. State Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, said he thinks there are positives to Common Core, but he has his own concerns.

“I was not a fan of the No Child Left Behind program because of the problems it had,” Koehler said. “Teachers were teaching to the test. I’m cautious of Common Core for the same reason.”

Sullivan doesn’t consider the program a blanket approach, but rather a level playing field for the state to be evaluated upon.

“The intent of Common Core is to get a uniform set of education standards so we know how everyone is doing across the state,” Sullivan said.

LaHood agrees, and called the “blanket approach,” unfair to local school districts.

“A fourth-grader in Mississippi and fourth-grader in Galesburg are not the same,” LaHood said. “School boards are different in different places and that’s why they’re elected locally.”

However, Sullivan reiterated that schools need more time to implement the more rigorous system, and that one school year isn’t enough.

“We strongly encourage the state board to give us more time and the districts more time and resources,” Sullivan said.

Pipeline to federal dollars

Other than changes to curriculum, lawmakers say it also helps the state raise money for school districts, a task they’ve found to be challenging in recent history.

Read more: http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20140926/News/140929296#ixzz3EeHVboor

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