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Three days after taking office, George W. Bush unveiled his signature domestic policy, No Child Left Behind. The bill would triple the number of exams the federal government required of students, while dangling stiff penalties over struggling schools. For many educators it felt like a depth charge. The mood was different at Pearson Education, a division of the London-based conglomerate Pearson PLC. As the education community was still absorbing the shock in February 2001, Pearson Education chief executive Peter Jovanovich spoke to a group of Wall Street investment analysts. He pointed them to the proposed annual testing requirements and school report cards. “This,” Jovanovich said, “almost reads like our business plan.”
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A raging debate over whether Common Core is good or bad for American schoolchildren is intensifying, but in most U.S. schools, the new standards already govern how teachers teach and what students study. In 40-plus states, the math and English guidelines determine the knowledge students have to master by the end of each grade, what they’ll be tested on this year, and in many cases, how teachers and principals will be rated at their jobs once those test scores are released. Teachers are throwing out lesson plans and writing new ones, textbooks have been overhauled and new digital products are being hawked to schools that promise to help them meet the challenge of the new, tougher standards.
According to its website, “The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.” Its mandate to test was included in the original No Child Left Behind legislation. NAEP tests are given to a representative sampling of about 30,000 private and public school students every two years in Grades 4, 8 and 12.
Kelsey Harkness / @kelseyjharkness As millions of students across the nation begin taking Common Core-aligned standardized tests for the first time, Maryland finds itself in a unique position to opt-out. A loophole discovered by a state lawmaker gives the governor the power to withdraw Maryland from tests created by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which are designed to assess how well students are learning under the Common Core standards. “It’s important for Maryland because the PARCC assessments and the consortium already—in its very short life—has shown clear evidence that it was poorly developed, poorly managed, and crammed down the throats of the states,” said David Vogt III, a Republican member of the state assembly.
BY SHANE VANDER HART The Arkansas House Education Committee has passed HB 1241 out of committee for consideration by the entire House. It has also been amended considerably. It started out as a delay and review bill, not looking at the engrossed version that has been amended it forces the state to exit PARCC by June 30, 2015. The bill originally would have delayed PARCC until the 2017-2018 school year. The bill also called for the Governor to convene a task force that includes teachers to review PARCC and other assessments and determine what assessment is best for Arkansas. They are to report its findings to the Governor of Arkansas by October 1, 2017.
According to Fox News, the new Common Core “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers,” or PARCC tests, prompted walkouts in multiple New Mexico schools this week: “…a few hundred students at Albuquerque High School joined the walkout despite warnings from administrators that they could face discipline. About 100 other students at nearby Highland High School also left class as testing began…The walkouts and demonstrations began last week in Santa Fe…”
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