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50-state look at how Common Core playing out in US

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 2, 2014 at 12:31 am •  Published: September 2, 2014
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A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards:

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ALABAMA

The state school board folded Common Core into the state's College and Career Ready Standards for public schools and has been defending the decision ever since.

Legislators introduced bills in 2013 and 2014 to repeal the standards. The repeal movement drew support from tea party groups, but Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, blocked the bills with the support of one of the state's most powerful business groups, the Business Council of Alabama.

By Phillip Rawls.

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ALASKA

The state did not adopt Common Core, although several Alaska school districts did. Deputy Education Commissioner Les Morse said those districts will be held accountable for ensuring that student learning is in line with the state standards in English, language arts and reading that were adopted in 2012. The state standards have some similarities with Common Core.

By Becky Bohrer.

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ARIZONA

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has tried to defuse criticism about the Common Core standards by issuing an executive order renaming them as "Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards," and reaffirming that Arizona is acting independently from the federal government.

A legislative effort to kill the standards failed this spring.

By Bob Christie.

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ARKANSAS

The Arkansas Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in 2010, with an effective date of this fall. The Legislature endorsed the board's decision during its 2011 regular session.

A few teachers, parents and national groups asked legislators last year to repeal the standards, and a state lawmaker this year attempted to bring up a bill to delay their imposition for three years. Neither effort gained traction.

By Kelly P. Kissel.

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CALIFORNIA

Most California schools are expected to begin basing instruction on the Common Core standards during the coming school year. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled Legislature have allocated more than $1.2 billion, about $200 per student, for school districts to spend on teacher training, materials and technology over two years.

California is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that is developing online tests in math and language based on the Common Core. The state has resisted the department's call for teacher evaluations to be based in part on standardized test results.

By Lisa Leff.

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COLORADO

As in many states, the Common Core standards have prompted opposition in Colorado from some conservatives.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature rejected a proposal that would have ordered a yearlong delay for new statewide tests while the standards were reviewed. Colorado is part of a multistate testing consortium, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and students are set to take the PARCC test this school year.

By Kristen Wyatt.

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CONNECTICUT

In June, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy committed spending an additional $15 million to continue launching Common Core in the state's public schools. That includes $10 million in borrowing for new school technology, one of the recommendations of a task force created by Malloy in March after teachers and education professionals raised concerns about whether schools were prepared for incorporating the new standards.

While some of Connecticut's public school districts have begun using the new Common Core standards, others have lagged behind. The issue has become a political one for Malloy, who faces re-election. Both his Republican challenger and a potential petitioning candidate have criticized the rollout of Common Core.

By Susan Haigh.

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DELAWARE

The state is moving forward as Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, a former co-chairman of the Common Core standards initiative, works to dispel notions that they are a federal initiative aimed at the states.

In the spring, students in grades three to eight, and 11th grade will take the new Smarter Balanced assessments in English and mathematics that are tied to Common Core. State education officials have agreed to a one-year delay, subject to federal approval, in using the test results in teacher evaluations. The delay takes into account concerns of the Delaware State Education Association, the teachers' union.

By Randall Chase.

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

District of Columbia public schools began implementing the standards voluntarily in 2010. School leaders are making one major concession: Teachers won't be evaluated based on their students' performance on new, Common Core-aligned standardized tests this school year.

That decision made news because the district has moved aggressively to align teacher evaluations with student test scores. The Education Department was initially critical of the policy change, saying it represented a slowdown of the District's school-reform efforts. Hundreds of District teachers have been fired after receiving poor evaluations, while the top performers have received bonuses.

By Ben Nuckols.

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FLORIDA

Florida officials tweaked the standards among a growing backlash. Beginning the fall, the "Florida standards" will be used in state classrooms.

While some have asked GOP Gov. Rick Scott and legislators to jettison the standards, high-ranking Republicans have tried to tamp down the controversy in other ways.

For example, legislators passed a measure that repealed more than 30 mentions of Common Core that were placed into state law just a year ago. Scott initially backed Common Core standards. But after complaints from grassroots conservative groups and activists, he called for public hearings and set the groundwork for the state to pull out of a consortium developing a national test to see if school children are meeting the new standards.

By Gary Fineout

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GEORGIA

Some Republican lawmakers have pushed bills for two years opting out of Common Core, which are supported by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, backed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and former Gov. Sonny Perdue who co-chaired the governors group that created the standards.

Republicans who control the Legislature compromised by forming a study committee to review the standards' origins. Georgia dropped out of a national consortium developing tests in line with Common Core in July 2013, saying it was too expensive. The state signed a contract this summer with CTB/McGraw-Hill to develop its own exam that students are scheduled to take during the coming school year.

By Kathleen Foody.

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HAWAII

Hawaii's Department of Education is asking the public to review test questions aligned to Hawaii Common Core standards and help recommend achievement levels for grade-level proficiency.

Beginning next spring, students will take new Common Core-aligned assessments that will replace the Hawaii State Assessment.

By Jennifer Kelleher.

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IDAHO

There's been growing opposition to Common Core in Idaho, with calls for reconsideration, even repeal, in the three years since the standards were adopted. But schools are slowly moving forward to put them in place, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams.

So far, efforts to repeal the standards have failed. As the November election approaches, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for state superintendent have said they will work to improve implementing the standards but have not said they must be repealed.

By Kimberlee Kruesi.

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ILLINOIS

Illinois started to adopt the Common Core standards in 2010, and fully implemented them last school year. Next spring, the PARCC tests linked to Common Core standards will be used in school districts across the state.

The tests will be given to students in grades three to eight, but only partially rolled out in high school because the state board of education had its budget request for assessments cut by $10 million. The ACT exam has been a state mandated assessment for high school juniors in recent years and doubles as a college entrance exam.

By Kerry Lester

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INDIANA

Indiana formally ended its participation in Common Core this past spring, when Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a measure pushed by conservative Republicans. But a key change in the legislation, mandating that any Indiana standards qualify for federal funding, spurred the bill's original author, state Sen. Scott Schneider, a Republican, to withdraw his support.

The state Board of Education approved new education standards in April, a rare moment of agreement between Pence and Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz. But the new standards drew criticism from conservatives and tea partyers who said they were too similar to the Common Core requirements.

By Tom Lobianco.

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IOWA

Many of the Common Core components have been blended into Iowa's statewide standards, known as the Iowa Core.

Conservatives in Iowa have attacked the Common Core, but efforts to change the state program have not been successful. But GOP Gov. Terry Branstad last year signed an executive order clarifying that the state would continue to maintain control over education standards and testing, not the federal government.

By Catherine Lucey.

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KANSAS

The state Board of Education adopted the Common Core reading and math standards in 2010, but in recent years they have been attacked by conservative Republicans, who say they're too expensive. Earlier this year, the state Senate attached a provision to an education funding bill that would have blocked their implementation, but it was dropped in the final version of the bill.

The board is moving ahead with developing student tests tied to the standards.

By John Hanna.

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KENTUCKY

In Kentucky, state lawmakers passed a bill in 2009 that set more rigorous academic standards, new assessments and a new accountability system. Kentucky followed up a year later by adopting Common Core and then in 2013 next-generation science standards. The new standards are known as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards.

Teachers first taught the new English/language arts and math standards in the 2011-12 school year. Students began testing on those new standards that same year.

By Bruce Shreiner.

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LOUISIANA

GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, a one-time Common Core supporter and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has sued the Obama administration, accusing Washington of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.

Lawmakers this year rejected several attempts to strip Common Core from classrooms and a majority of the education board voted to continue using the standards.

Jindal suspended contracts that the state Department of Education planned to use to buy testing material aligned with the standards. The education superintendent, John White, and education board leaders say the governor overstepped his legal authority, and they sued.

A state district judge has since said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students and he lifted Jindal's suspension of the contracts. The decision allows White to move ahead with Common Core-tied testing plans until a full trial is held later over the legality of Jindal's executive orders against the standards.

At the same time, 17 state lawmakers who oppose the standards have lodged their own legal challenge, but lost their first round in court.

By Melinda Deslatte.

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MAINE

Two groups opposed to the reading, writing and math benchmarks are trying to collect enough signatures to trigger a statewide vote in 2015 to repeal them.

Maine Education Commissioner James Rier says he spends much of his time fielding calls from people with a misunderstanding of the standards, adopted in 2011 in Maine. The state is now assembling a team of educators and businesspeople to look at updating the standards for math and English language arts, he said. Any changes would have to be approved by the Legislature.

By David Sharp.

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MARYLAND

Maryland schools began implementing the standards in reading and math two school years ago, and will begin using the PARCC test during the upcoming school year.

In this year's legislative session, Maryland lawmakers voted by large margins to address some issues that have arisen with Common Core in the state. For example, test scores won't be used in teacher and principal evaluations for at least the next two years. In addition, a workgroup including teachers and parents will be formed to improve implementation.

By Brian Witte.

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MASSACHUSETTS

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in July 2010, and they became part of the state curriculum the following year. The state is also in the middle of a two-year trial of the PARCC.

The new standards are being challenged by a grassroots group, known as the Common Core Forum, which argues the state's standards should not be dropped and replaced. The group of parents, teachers and local elected officials has called for repeal of the new standards and more transparency from the state.

By Michael Melia.

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MICHIGAN

In Michigan, the 2014-15 school year was supposed to be the first in which students would take exams developed by the Smarter Balanced consortium. But lawmakers balked, despite last year ultimately letting the state continue spending dollars implementing the standards after vigorous debate.

Legislators later directed the state not to administer the Smarter Balanced test this coming academic year. Instead, it must develop Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests that align with Common Core. The new assessment is to be given starting in the spring of 2016.

By David Eggert.

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MINNESOTA

Minnesota has adopted only the English and language arts standards portions of Common Core but augmented them with more rigorous content developed close to home. The state had already redrawn its math standards.

Rather than joining the national testing groups related to Common Core, Minnesota went with its own assessments.

By Brian Bakst.

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MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi schools are supposed to be fully teaching based on the standards this year, and Mississippi plans to use the PARCC tests for most of its state standardized testing beginning this spring.

Attempts were made earlier this year by some lawmakers to roll back the state's implementation of Common Core, but those proposals failed by wide margins.

But Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has called Common Core a "failed program" and said he expected lawmakers to address the standards in the 2015 legislative session. State Superintendent Carey Wright has pushed back against Bryant, saying his description of Common Core is a "gross mischaracterization" and saying students "deserve the opportunity to perform to higher expectations."

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