Massachusetts’ Abandoning Common Core Test Signifies National Shift Against Education Standards

Nov 25, 2015 by

By Allison Nielsen –

Massachusetts, the state widely lauded as the leader in national education, is backing away from the controversial Common Core State Standards by dumping an assessment test closely aligned with the standards in favor of its own state-designed standardized test.

For two years, Massachusetts administered the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the test most commonly associated with Common Core.

PARCC was one of the tests Florida considered using for its own assessment, but criticisms of PARCC ran rampant and the state ultimately opted to create its own assessment test instead.

After Massachusetts’ two years with PARCC were up, the State Board of Education voted last week to abandon PARCC and instead set itself on a path where the state will develop its very own assessment test, signaling a massive shift in national opinion on high-stakes testing and on Common Core itself.

For years, Massachusetts has been the “city on a hill” in national education, consistently scoring at the very top of the “Nation’s Report Card” from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and climbing above many countries across the world in science scores.

Massachusetts was America’s favorite child when it came to promoting Common Core, since it seemed to be the strongest evidence the standards were working and propelling students to achieve more and excel academically.

Florida, too, looked toward Massachusetts as a guiding light on how to model its education practices, but the Sunshine State also opted to create its own standardized test, in defiance against the Common Core State Standards.

Massachusetts’ decision is a symbolic display of just how divisive high-stakes testing and Common Core have become across the country. When the national education standards were developed in 2009, the majority of the 50 states had no qualms about them and the standards were widely accepted by most states by 2010.

But that tune began to change drastically as the years went on — five years later, the majority of national politicians fervently oppose the standards, teachers have spoken out about their efficacy, parents have expressed concerns and even some students say the way they learn has become confusing, overloaded and too complicated.

States have pushed back — and some of them have already introduced legislation to repeal the standards, with Indiana pulling out of Common Core altogether.

Two Republican presidential candidates — Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-TX, have already pledged they’d get rid of Common Core nationwide should either of them be elected president in 2016.

“I will instruct the secretary of education that Common Core ends,” Cruz told the crowd at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit earlier this month.

Even Florida has distanced itself from Common Core — the Sunshine State adopted the standards in 2010, but after significant backlash, the Florida Department of Education altered the standards slightly and rebranded them as the Florida Standards.

But Massachusetts’ decision to back off of PARCC indicates a significant shift in the way Americans view education, and the heavy opposition and uneasiness surrounding the standards could be an indicator that change is on the horizon nationwide.

In Florida, groups against the standards have grown by leaps and bounds. One group, Stop Common Core in Florida, has nearly 6,000 supporters on Facebook. Another group, Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, has over 3,300 supporters on Facebook. The Florida Parents Against Common Core group, which is made up of parents from across the state, has already been successful at pushing GOP presidential candidates to pledge to end the education standards if elected in 2016.

“I know that in general terms, [the candidates] are against Common Core, but we want to drive this away from just talking about being against it to taking some definitive action,” FPACC President Luz Gonzalez told Sunshine State News. “It has to be both parts. It can’t just be ‘say I’m against it.’ That’s not enough for us anymore.”


Source: Massachusetts’ Abandoning Common Core Test Signifies National Shift Against Education Standards | Sunshine State News | Florida Political News

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