ECS Takes Stock of States’ Common-Core Activity

By Andrew Ujifusa — September 10, 2014 2 min read
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What has all the activity on the Common Core State Standards by state politicians around the country added up to?

The Education Commission of the States has tried to answer that question with a new report about legislation to repeal the common core, governors’ executive orders related to the standards, and ways that states have altered their approach to try and smooth the way for the standards in schools. “States and the (Not So) New Standards—Where Are They Now?” was released Sept. 10 and takes into account state-related activity over the last several years through Sept. 1, although ECS says that the report isn’t meant to be exhaustive.

Here’s a brief run-down of what the report contains:

• ECS says two states, Indiana and Oklahoma, have approved bills to exit the common core. We at Education Week feel a bit differently about that total.

In our map of states’ adoption status regarding the common core, we list South Carolina as another state where lawmakers have moved to repeal the common core. It’s a debatable point, since the new standards that state’s education depatment is developing won’t be ready until the 2015-16 school year, and common core will remain in place until then; at the same time, it’s unclear just how different the state’s new standards will be from common core.

• ECS lists South Carolina, instead, as one of four states that are reviewing the common core, as well as Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. We’ve written about Missouri and North Carolina before. In Ohio, there is a bill to replace the common core with Massachusetts’ standards for three years until the state comes up with new standards.

However, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, is opposed to the bill, and while there’s a great deal of debate in the state over the common core, there’s no official review of the common standards underway by his office, the legislature, or the state education department. (ECS also highlights a separate bill that’s been introduced that would bar the common core outright in Ohio.)

• ECS lists Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, and Kentucky as four states where lawmakers have taken extra steps to try to help common-core progress.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, created an common-core implementation task force in 2014, and based on the task force’s findings agreed to an additional $2 million for teacher training and $1 million more for common-core-aligned materials.

And in Illinois, lawmakers mandated the creation of new curriculum modules in math for both middle and high schools to help educators prepare for the common standards in classrooms.

• More than 25 states have “reaffirmed” their commitment to the common core, but changed the name of the standards, including Iowa, Maine, and West Virginia. ECS also has a helpful appendix (page 7 of the report) where it lists what common core is actually called in various states.

Read the full report below. And after that, check out the interactive graphic I’ve put together that tracks efforts to review and repeal the common core in various states in 2014.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.