West Virginia, Massachusetts and why the End Common Core ballot is going forward
When it comes to the “confidence game” that has been played around the country to advance Common Core standards, there are few places where connivance was more on display than in West Virginia. As noted in a post in March of 2012, you had there “noted national standards boosters” including “former Governor Bob Wise, now of the Alliance for “Excellent” Education, and Steven Paine, former state superintendent of schools for West Virginia, and CCSSO’s former Board President.” West Virginia was also “ground zero of the agenda of “softy” 21st century skills and the home of Dane Linn, head of education policy for the National Governors Association (NGA), another leader of the push for national standards.”
Last I looked, in that 2012 post, the chess masters of policy had little effect on West Virginia’s NAEP scores: Their scores were below the national average, precisely where they were when Governor Wise’s term ended in 2005.
Extending that analysis, beyond the “Age of Accountability” (2003-2009) to include the “Age of Common Core” (2009-2015), there still has been no improvement as we look at more recent data, which is why the Metro West Virginia News today is reporting that the Mountain State has dropped its experiment with the Common Core Standards. As has happened elsewhere, the newly revised standards remain similar in many regards to the Core, in great part because of education officials’ fear of a hostile reaction from the US Department of Education. The MWV News notes that elected leadership in the state feels the state needs to make a qualitative improvement in the quality of its academic expectations — and that this revision does not go far enough:
The West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to repeal the controversial Common Core/Next Generation teaching standards and adopt a new set of standards called the College and Career Readiness Standards for English, language arts and mathematics, but state lawmakers say the new standards don’t address all the issues that have been raised in recent months.
“They don’t go far enough,” House Speaker Tim Armstead told MetroNews. “I think that they (state lawmakers) feel like Common Core has been a disaster. I feel that it has been a disaster in West Virginia.”
Armstead said the new standards are “too similar and too close” to Common Core/Next Gen, which lawmakers have expressed leading up to the 2016 Regular Legislative Session next month.
“It’ll be likely that this will be a subject of legislation and consideration during our upcoming session,” he said.
If West Virginians are feeling that way, given the quality of Massachusetts’ academic standards prior to the adoption of the Core in 2010, it’s no wonder that the “End Common Core” ballot initiative was successful in getting the requisite number of signatures to move forward.
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