Putting Education Reform To The Test

In Florida And Across The Nation, Common Core Standards Still Standing

A man holds up a copy of the Constitution to oppose Common Core before a State Board of Education meeting in Orlando.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

A man holds up a copy of the Constitution to oppose Common Core before a February 2014 State Board of Education meeting in Orlando.

The uprising against the Common Core State Standards is over, Politico reports, and Common Core opponents have lost.

A handful of states have ditched Common Core, which outlines what students should know in math and language arts at the end of each grade..

Florida and another, larger, group of states have chosen not to use one of the two nationally-designed tests for Common Core.

But most of the states which adopted the standards are knee-deep in making them work now and have no plans to turn back. Even some of the loudest critics are conceding the standards are here to stay:

As Common Core becomes more commonplace in public schools (and in many Catholic schools), some prominent Republicans concede they’ve lost their battle. Take former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona. As governor, she signed an executive order banning the use of the words Common Core by state agencies, though the standards themselves were still firmly in place. She wrote in a recent column on the Fox News website that implementation of the standards is “succeeding.”

Outspoken Common Core critic Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute agrees that the standards are likely here to stay — though that won’t stop his ongoing assault on the Obama administration using billions in incentives to nudge states to adopt the standards. What might change, he said, is how much states are held accountable for students’ mastery of the standards, but “my sense is that most states are going to officially stay with Common Core or something like it.”

Karen Nussle, director of the Collaborative for Student Success, a group that helps lead the public relations charge in support of the standards, said the big fight over the standards is “a bit in the rearview mirror” as the conflict shifts to lesser skirmishes.

The story is no different in Florida. Last year, opponents were talking about repeal and Common Core was expected to be a big issue during the legislative session.

That didn’t happen, as the House and Senate fought over health care funding and education was a secondary issue.

No lawmaker has filed a bill for the 2016 session challenging the standards yet. And Senate Education chairman John Legg said he didn’t think the issue would come up as lawmakers work on the budget, redistricting and reelection.

“I think standards, I think curriculum,” Legg said, “I think those type of issues we’ve worked our way through it.

Now, standardized testing and grading public school performance are the big topics. They’re related to Common Core, but separate issues.

Skirmishes may still pop up even though the Common Core war is over. And as Politico Florida reported last week, Common Core opponents may still claim some victories in 2016 state and local elections.


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