Maine latest to dump Common Core Test

Aug 17, 2015 by

As the iconic Queen tune from 1980 goes, “another one bites the dust.”

Maine became the latest state this summer to ditch the Common Core test from its curriculum and standards. It joins at least 14 other states that withdrew from the test or downgraded their participation in it after originally signing on to administer the controversial assessment.

When Gov. Paul LePage (R-Maine) signed a law in June requiring the Pine Tree State’s department of education to stop its participation in the “Smarter Balanced Assessment,” he sent a message loud and clear about the proliferating disapproval of the nature of the “test.” The assessment is one of the two primary Common Core tests required under the nationwide federal standards.

Many critics of the questionable Common Core test contend that many of its questions are invasive and have little to do with students’ academic understanding.

LePage continued a trend of opposition against and disbelief in the troubled federal Common Core standards that Washington forcefully attempted to push on all 50 states during the Obama administration.

Champions of academic freedom, including the nonprofit group, the Home School Legal Defense Association, proclaim that breaking away from the Common Core is a major step for parents and state boards of education in regaining control over their students’ education from the federal governments’ power grab.

“By ditching participation in the test, Maine has taken a small but important step toward regaining control of its own education policy,” said HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff, who provides assistance to homeschoolers in Maine to achieve academic freedom from unwarranted government interference.

Education or infiltration?

This upcoming school year, Maine students will no longer be required to divulge personal information that many parents believe is none of the federal or state governments’ business — thanks to the new state law.

“The new law, L.D. 1276, requires the department of education to set a different assessment in place for the 2015–16 school year,” Woodruff explains. “Under the new law, the assessment must not collect personal data about students — such as attitudes, values, motivation, stereotypes or feelings — but it must still comply with federal law (although the measure does not identify which federal law would apply).”

The act was put in place and enacted by the people of the state of Maine “to improve educational assessments of Maine students.” It notes in Section 1 that the Maine Department of Education is to adopt an educational assessment that “does not collect personal data.”

The primary motivation behind the act is to protect the privacy of students and their families by putting an end to “big brother” tactics inside the classroom designed to find out information about children’s beliefs, aspirations, biases and psychological predispositions. According to the act’s wording, the replacement test must benefit the states’ students and residents — as opposed to the federal government — and those with a local vested interest in students’ learning must have a say in the content of the assessment taking its place.

“On the effective date of this section, the Department of Education shall terminate the State’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment used to assess student achievement in the 2014-2015 school year,” the new law reads. “The method of assessment must be selected with direct input from education stakeholders and must specifically address the needs of students and citizens of the State.”

A shift away from the Common Core?

Since the National Governors Association released Common Core standards in June 2010, 45 states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia refused to adopt the Common Core from its onset, while Minnesota initially only adopted the English language arts standards.

Today, at least 21 states have pushed back against the Common Core in some tangible way, shape or form since its introduction — either by never adopting it in the first place, pausing its implementation, downgrading their participation in or withdrawing from national tests, or by exiting the Common Core and reclaiming standard-setting autonomy. Besides Maine and the five initial states mentioned above, these states are: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

Despite the growing aversion to bowing down to the problematic federal standards, HSLDA attorneys warn that the Common Core will continue to infiltrate the minds of students and threaten families that allow such testing and curricula to reign supreme in their states.

“Common Core continues to threaten educational freedom across the nation,” Woodruff concluded. “So long as the threat remains, HSLDA will work to end it.”

Source: Maine latest to dump Common Core Test

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