Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Group Leading Common Core Effort Opposes Delays

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The Council of Chief State School Officers says they oppose a moratorium on the use of new tests tied to Common Core standards.

An organization which led the creation of the new Common Core education standards is opposing efforts to delay or temporarily halt accountability requirements while schools adjust to the new standards, according to Education Week.

However, the Council of Chief State School Officers is asking for some wiggle room from the U.S. Department of Education from No Child Left Behind requirements — or the waivers from the law granted to states such as Florida — during the transition.

The standards have been fully adopted by Florida, 44 other states and the District of Columbia. Common Core lays out what students are expected to know in math and English language arts by the end of each grade.

The standards streamline the number of topics schools teach children in each subject. Common Core also requires teachers ask students what they know and to prove how they know it.

TheĀ Council of Chief State School Officers says states should be able to adjust their rules to maintain school accountability designations during the transition. States should also be able to choose which test they want to use in 2013-2014, when one of the new Common Core-tied exams will do pilot testing.

The designations determine if schools are considered low-performing, which can require additional district or state assistance.

States should also be able to delay requirements to evaluate teachers based in part on student test scores, which Education Week says could be the most controversial portion of the request.

Florida schools are scheduled to use Common Core standards in every grade starting the fall of 2014. The new tests are scheduled for use starting the spring of 2015.

With the deadlines approaching, the standards have come under fire for many reasons.

Conservative groups concerned about the quality of the standards and the loss of local control over education have opposed Common Core across the country. Those on the political left worry the standards will mean more testing, tie the hands of teachers and make it easier for companies to profit from education.

The head of the American Federation of Teachers and the superintendent of Montgomery County schools in Maryland have both argued for a moratorium on decisions tied to test results while schools adjust to Common Core standards. Those decisions could include determining teacher evaluations and pay and grading school performance.

Four groups representing school district leaders asked for “adequate” time to implement the new standards, but did not offer specifics.

Florida leaders are not calling for a delay in either the new standards nor for whatever Common Core-tied test the state chooses.

Lawmakers have approved a bill which would delay the new testing until schools have the technology in place to handle the online exams. But the state is requiring a pencil and paper option for whatever exam it does choose.

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