How a School Board can Slow Down or Stop the Implementation of Common Core

Disclosure: no lawyer has said the following is not legal.

How can a district deal with Common Core state standards? 

A locally-elected school board can vote to reject the Common Core state standards that the state board adopted unless there is a state statute that explicitly requires local districts to adopt state board-adopted/created standards.  This is the situation in perhaps only one state, but not the case in New Hampshire.  Local districts can and have rejected Common Core State Standards in New Hampshire. Alton and Wakefield school districts voted to reject Common Core. Manchester school district voted to create and adopt their own academic standards.

Next a locally-elected school board can instruct its superintendent to require district teachers to import or create its own academic standards in ELA and math/science and then formally adopt these.  It then can vote to tell the local superintendent to eliminate any traces of a curriculum designed to teach to the state board-adopted /created standards, and to teach to the new,  local standards.  The locally-elected school board should then formally vote to adopt the curriculum their own teachers developed.  Local parents and higher education experts should be asked to testify to their academic rigor.

How can a school district deal with Common Core aligned assessments, such as Smarter Balanced (or PARCC)?

When the state Department of Education state Commissioner of Education tells the local district to give tests based on the state board-adopted standards, the locally-elected school board can say that these state-adopted tests, such as Smarter Balanced assessments, are not compatible with its legally adopted local standards and curriculum.  Tests based on state board-adopted standards cannot accurately assess local board-adopted local standards and curriculum. If the state commissioner of education objects, she can take the district to court and pay the bills.

What about Title I money or, state legislature-appropriated money?

Neither can be withheld from the local district unless Congress or the state legislature explicitly vote to require withholding of Title I or state-appropriated money from school districts that refuse to give their students tests based on state board-adopted/created standards.

New Hampshire districts may be required to admininster a statewide assessment under state law, but there are no explicit penalties apportioned to districts which refuse to do so.

How to deal with Student Data-Mining?

Finally,  school boards may adopt their own database policies that require Parents to Opt-In to allow their child to participate in the state longitudinal database, giving parents a wide matrix of options such that: their child's data is not to be stored; or their child's data is to be collected for school use only, or district use only, or state use only, or shared more broadly. 

Chicago Teachers Union joins growing national opposition to deeply flawed Common Core Standards

Chicago Teachers Union joins growing national opposition to deeply flawed Common Core Standards

by ctu communications  |  05/07/2014

CHICAGO – Today, members of the House of Delegates (HOD) of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) passed the following resolution that enjoins the city’s educators to growing national opposition to the Common Core State Standards, saying the assessments disrupt student learning and consume tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration.

Now that the resolution has passed, the CTU will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core for teaching and assessment; and be it further and will work to organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the law that increases the expansion of nationwide controls over educational issues.

Common Core’s origins can be traced to the 2009 Stimulus Bill which gave $4.35 billion to the federal Department of Education which created the “Race to the Top” competition between states. In order to qualify for funding, the states needed to adopt Common Core  with the added incentive that participating states would be exempted from many of the more onerous provisions of George Bush’s “No child left behind” program.

“I agree with educators and parents from across the country, the Common Core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, a nationally board certified teacher.  “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom and impedes collaboration. We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.”

The official text of the resolution follows:

Resolution to Oppose the Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS, the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely preparation for college and career; and

WHEREAS, instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students; and

WHEREAS, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice; and

WHEREAS, high quality education requires adequate resources to provide a rich and varied course of instruction, individual and small group attention, and wrap-around services for students; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards were developed by non-practitioners, such as test and curriculum publishers, as well as education reform foundations, such as the Gates and Broad Foundations, and as a result the CCSS better reflect the interests and priorities of corporate education reformers than the best interests and priorities of teachers and students; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards were piloted incorrectly, have been implemented too quickly, and as a result have produced numerous developmentally inappropriate expectations that do not reflect the learning needs of many students; and

WHEREAS, imposition of the Common Core State Standards adversely impacts students of highest need, including students of color, impoverished students, English language learners, and students with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards emphasize pedagogical techniques, such as close reading, out of proportion to the actual value of these methods – and as a result distort instruction and remove instructional materials from their social context; and

WHEREAS, despite the efforts of our union to provide support to teachers, the significant time, effort, and expense associated with modifying curricula to the Common Core State Standards interferes and takes resources away from work developing appropriate and engaging courses of study; and

WHEREAS, the assessments that accompany the Common Core State Standards (PARCC and Smarter Balance) are not transparent in that --teachers and parents are not allowed to view the tests and item analysis will likely not be made available given the nature of computer adaptive tests; and

WHEREAS, Common Core assessments disrupt student learning, consuming tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration; and

WHEREAS, the assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards – including the political manipulation of test scores – are used as justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Chicago Teachers Union opposes the Common Core State Standards (and the aligned tests) as a framework for teaching and learning; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union advocates for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum that is student-based and supported by research, as well as for supports such as those described in the Chicago Teachers Union report, The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will embark on internal discussions to educate and seek feedback from members regarding the Common Core and its impact on our students; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core State Standards for teaching and assessment; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the Common Core State Standards; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Illinois State Board of Education, the Chicago Board of Education, the Governor of Illinois, and all members of the Illinois legislative branch; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that should this resolution be passed by the CTU House of Delegates, an appropriate version will be submitted to the American Federation of Teachers for consideration at the 2014 Convention.


George Will on Common Core: a Wedge of Federal Power

George Will’s comments on May 5 during his appearance on “Special Report with Brett Baier”: 

“The advocates of the Common Core say, ‘If you like local control over your schools, you can keep it. Period. If you like your local curriculum, you can keep it. Period.’

“And people don’t believe them, for very good reasons.

“This is a thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington, so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide.

“(Common Core supporters) say it’s voluntary. It has been driven by the (federal government’s) use of bribes and coercion – in the form of waivers from No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top money – to buy the compliance of these 45 states, two of which – Indiana, and I believe, Oklahoma – have already backed out, and they will not be the last.

“Watch the verb ‘align’ in this argument. (Common Core supporters) are going to align the SAT and the ACT tests with the curriculum. They’re going to align the textbooks with the tests. And sooner or later, you inevitably have a national curriculum that disregards the creativity of federalism.


“What are the chances … that we’re going to have five or six creative governors experimenting with different curricula, or one creative, constant, permanent Washington bureaucracy overlooking our education?

We’ve had 50 years now of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – 50 years of federal involvement that has coincided with stagnation in test scores across the country.”


Common Core -- War Against Children -- Cognitive Abuse

Common Core Standards are not developmentally appropriate.

Jean Piaget formulated the four stages of cognitive development in the 1920's.