"The State Board of Education approved a controversial plan... to require all Pennsylvania students to pass proficiency tests in science, math, and language arts before graduating. The 13-4 vote to approve the so-called Common Core standards came after state officials said they would limit the proficiency tests to public schools, and agreed not to impose a statewide curriculum or reading lists, or expand the collection of students' personal data."
Read more here.
"The standards are a voluntary initiative, so far adopted by 45 states, that establishes proficiency requirements for kindergarten through 12th grade in the three core areas. Tests in composition, civics, and government would be added later."
They are "voluntary," but states can't compete for $110 Billion in Federal Race to the Top Money, unless they sign on to the Common Core State Standards.
Six concerns (and there are many more) about the tests include:
Black and Latino students suffered a 56% decrease in reading scores and more than a 60% decrease in math scores from 2012 to 2013, according to the report."
3. If we want our kids to"compete...locally, nationally and internationally..." like Govornor Corbett does, why aren't we following China's lead?
"No standardized tests, no written homework, no tracking. These are some of the new actions China is taking to lessen student academic burden. The Chinese Ministry of Education released this week for public commentary. The The Ten Regulations to Lessen Academic Burden for Primary School students are introduced as one more significant measure to reform China’s education, in addition to further reduction of academic content, lowering the academic rigor of textbooks, expanding criteria for education quality, and improving teacher capacity." Read more here.
4. Our voices are ignored by our Governor and his appointed State Board of Education. This includes public testimony by Charles E. Madden, III, who has served as a Director on the Radnor Township School Board for 18 years.
He testified that, "Radnor Township School District has always been, and continues to be, a high-achieving district serving a community that expects excellence and adherence to the highest standards of education for our students. Families move to our community so that their children can attend Radnor schools. Earning a 'Radnor' diploma means something, to those who earn it, to the colleges and employers who seek Radnor students, and to all community members who, whether they have kids in the schools or not, contribute to that education."
Both high-achieving districts and students, along side struggling districts and their students are being affected by these tests.
5. Civil Rights Groups, like the NAACP call this a "Quiet Massacre."
Joan Duvall-Flynn, ED D, Education Committee, PA State Conference NAACP states,
She continues, "The13 members of the Board who voted on the Keystone requirement know and are fully aware that a single test-score does not reflect a student’s knowledge, ability or potential. They know clearly that the Corbett cuts in funding to public education have caused chaos in school districts across Pennsylvania. They know that many districts cannot provide the materials, technology, supports or human resources needed to prepare all students equally or well."
Need I say more?