It appears that the state of Massachusetts has put in place a two-year pause button on the implementation of Common Core. According to the Heritage Foundation, the MA State Board of Education wanted time to compare the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

 

The board decided to delay implementation for two years while it compares the Common Core aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests to their existing—and widely praised—Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam.

Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who also chairs the governing board for the PARCC consortium, says that adopting the Common Core by the 2014–2015 deadline would cause Massachusetts “too precipitous a transition.”

It is also wise on the part of Massachusetts given the lack of stability of PARCC at the present time. The Consortium has steadily lost members, including their fiscal agent the state of Florida. With the push back in the state of New York and Connecticut,  PARCC could be in a precarious state of affairs.

Besides, Massachusetts’ public school graduates have historical had some of the best scores in the world. Why would they want to shift rapidly to an unproven system written by people who had little K-12 classroom experience?

One area where this shows is in the area of literature. The Common Core Standards writers have the emphasis in the standards all wrong. As Sandra Stotsky, one of the leaders of Massachusetts’s 1993 education reform movement who resigned from the Common Core review committee noted,

[Common Core’s] misplaced stress on informational texts reflects the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects and sponsoring organizations in curriculum and in teacher’s training.… A diminished emphasis on literature in secondary grades makes it unlikely that American students will study a meaningful range of culturally and historically significant literary works before graduation.

The math standards of the Common Core are often regarded as substandard. The standards end with Algebra 2, which is significantly lower than the pre-common core standards of Massachusetts. Common Core proponents had assured Massachusetts there would be a third pathway. However, the Obama Administration struck that down.

All totaled, that makes 15 states that are pushing back against standards at present–four others have downgraded their involvement or delayed the tests.

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