Ark. Common-Core Review Recommends a Smartphone App ... And Another Review

By Andrew Ujifusa — July 30, 2015 2 min read
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By now, reviews of the Common Core State Standards aren’t unusual. States from Florida and Tennessee to Missouri and North Carolina have undertaken them. The latest state to complete a review of the standards is Arkansas. But the Natural State’s review has led to a somewhat unusual, if not unique, recommendation.

On July 30, the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review, led by GOP Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, released its recommendations regarding the common core and related issues like testing.

Among the 21 recommendations, the council says that annotations, footnotes, and commentary should be added to the standards to ensure that educators understand the various sections and provisions of the common core. It also states that the Arkansas education department should develop a smartphone app so that parents and others have easy access to the standards and related materials.

But then there’s the second recommendation to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican:

“The Governor [should] require a comprehensive review of the standards with the goal of revising, improving, and replacing, as warranted, both the Mathematics and [English/language arts] standards and ensuring that the experiences of parents and educators are reflected and utilized in the Arkansas standards. The review should include, for example, an examination and assessment of the mathematics multiplication tables and whether they are sufficiently rigorous.”

You read that correctly: The council, which Hutchinson formed in February, to review the common core, is recommending yet another review of the standards. There’s no explicit timeline for when and how long that review should take place.

Before these recommendations were released, Griffin told the Associated Press that he doesn’t view the common core as an all-or-nothing proposal: “I believe we should change the standards where they need to be changed and we should completely make them our own. You wouldn’t want to call that Common Core because it wouldn’t be what it was.”

How much that means the common core will be altered or discarded in Arkansas is unclear. In case you’re wondering, the council recommends that the state keep the common core in place until this review is completed.

Remember, the council made one recommendation several weeks ago (before it officially finished its work) that could be the most important one. It said the state should ditch the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) test in favor of the ACT. After a fight over that issue between Hutchinson, who wanted the switch to the ACT, and the state board of education, which initially did not, the board ultimately ditched PARCC for the ACT.

The council’s recommendations also touch on issues like student-data privacy, instruction, and special education. Read the recommendations.

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