Common Core Communication Network: Dealing with Critics
WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING
Description: Tom Loveless of the Brookings Insitute's Brown Center on Education Policy addresses the results of a recent report on the status of Common Core reforms and recent test scores. Of particular concern is a finding that NAEP scores so far do not seem to be higher in states that have adoped CCSS. Loveless discusses the political implications of this finding, cautions against changes to the NAEP that could be interpreted as rigging the results, and looks ahead to the rest of 2016 as pivotal to the ultimate success of CCSS. See the "General Overview/Rationale" section for a link to Loveless's full analysis of the report.
Description: This online article from Newsweek describes the Common Core's fall from grace among Republicans, particularly those considering running for President. The program many Republican leaders once supported has suffered from Tea Partiers describing it as a way to "eliminate local control, limit parental involvement, open the door to invasive data collection, provide little options for reform, and cater to special interest influence in individual classrooms.” Learn what went wrong with Common Core support among Republicans and how the media contributed to its negative perception.
Description: Gallup recently produced a four-day report of Common Core opinion polls of parents and teachers. To wrap up the coverage, Gallup packaged need-to-know information based on the polls and released it on October 31.
Description: Politico outlines the latest concern for Common Core critics -- testing contracts. Several states have pulled out from using Common Core-approved tests, citing concerns over lack of options for test materials, using federal funds for state testing, and a perceived focus on testing rather than learning.
Description: In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence faces major potential political consequences if he vetoes a two-page bill requesting Indiana completely withdraw from the Common Core. The state has drafted very similar higher standards to the ones outlined by the Common Core, so the potential veto is meant to send a political statement rather than stagnate education's progress in Indiana. Most states that have attempted to pass legislation to withdraw from the Common Core have failed.
Description: To protest the Common Core, some parents kept their children out of school on November 18. One parent in Rochester, NY who was interviewed said that her children do not feel comfortable taking standardized tests and that it was too much pressure for a young child, so she was keeping her children out of school for the day to send a message. The Superintendent of that district wondered if that was the right message.
Description: In a joint op-ed from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, and early childhood education expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige, they assert that Common Core's focus on assessments, particularly in early grades, does a disservice to students and the teachers who serve them.
Description: This is an article focused on dispelling rumors in Florida about the Common Core. Learn the truth about data collection, curriculum changes, and level of teacher involvement in the standards’ development. There are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors out there about the Common Core, and it’s important to know the truth about them.
Description: A quick-read article from the Huffington Post shares 13 of the most outrageous criticisms of the Common Core. Many allude to America becoming like Nazi Germany or the reform bringing an apocalyptic shift to education as we know it.
Description: The website is focused on blog posts against the Common Core. Topics of posts include parents’ rights, student privacy, and Arne Duncan. This website is mainly written by a former English teacher from Utah whose own children have been both home schooled and enrolled in public school. She has taught in a variety of schools.
Description: A reporter for a North Carolina newspaper reports on the arguments critics have taken against the Common Core, what the reform could mean for NC students, and concerns about the validity of the criticism the Common Core is facing (and the validity of some of its critics).
Description: In a May 1, 2013 post from The Answer Sheet, Valarie Strauss warns against making the Common Core such a poltiical issue that it prevents people from discussing and considering it thoughtfully. She says that one side sees it as "ObamaCore" and the other sees it as the American education system's saving grace, but in reality it's probably somewhere in the middle.
Description: In an article by Valarie Strauss of the Washington Post, Young Zhao, presidential chair and associate dean for global education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, cites his concerns over the Common Core. He asserts that we are trying to perfect a broken system and that an overhaul of what we teach instead of how we teach it is the key to future academic success and preparation for life after school. He compares the CC Standards to a bet, the stakes of which are millions of children’s educational lives. This piece is adapted from his book, World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (Corwin, 2012).
Description: A group concerned with the national government having a say in their Missouri education opposes the Common Core, calling it a “thinly veiled initiative… designed to circumvent the prohibition of national education standards.” The group has two stated goals. 1. Take control of education out of DC and private corporation's hands and return it to our local communities, and 2. Protect our children's privacy by restricting government's ability to collect and share information about them.
Description: In an EdWeek blog post, former high school teacher and professor at Georgia State, Jack Hassard, suggests that the Common Core could be little more than an attempt to make students automatons. He says that they are against the progressive values that our country was founded upon.
Description: Students in a school in Kansas are researching the Common Core to see whether the new standards are likely to benefit them. The school's principal is fearful that the Common Core will fall short of what it is intended to do, and will cost educators money they don't have with new tests and curriculum to match.
Description: Right Wing Watch, a group that searches for extremist Republican political views, shared a two-minute video in which Alabama Republican Party official Elois Zeanah warns attendees at a Tea Party convention about Obama indoctrinating their children against America. She says Common Core materials take away choices from parents and remove competition in education.
HOW TO RESPOND
Description: After Pearson came under fire on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" show, Valerie Strauss featured a response in her Answer Sheet column in the Washington Post, by Alfred G. Binford, managing director of assessment and direct delivery at Pearson. The headline that Pearson put on the post was: “New State Tests Are One Piece of An Improving Education System.”
Description: The Learning First Alliance (LFA), has launched a campaign called Get It Right, an initiative focused on what states and districts are doing to “get it right” when it comes to the Common Core. This report helps highlight three key findings LFA has discovered since the campaign began.
Description: The NPR Education team (nprED) has answered 25 of the most-asked questions about the Common Core. When even comedians like Stephen Colbert and Louis C.K. are taking affront to it, it's important to let people know the facts about the reform and NPR stands ready to do just that.
Description: In an opinion piece featured in The Heichinger Report, Brookings’ Institution’s Joshua Bleiberg and Darrell West reviewed information from sources outside of the education realm and how they relate to the Common Core. They found that, if Common Core is implemented as planned, critics would likely have little to criticize.
Description: In his letter to parents in Livonia, New York, Superintendent Matthew Cole said critics of the Common Core are not focused on helping improve teaching and learning. Instead, criticism is fueled by creating buzz around the issue and making a political statement.
Description: The short video shares key messages about the Common Core delivered by classroom teachers, education leaders, business leaders, and politicians alike. It explains why the Common Core is a necessary and good attempt to better align education to the expectations of the business and collegiate communities.
Description: Myths are running rampant about the Common Core, despite people's best efforts to share the truth. In this article and SlideShare presentation, learn the facts behind the Common Core.
Description: Kansas is strategically developing a communication plan to educate its communities about the Common Core to clear up rumors that are not true. Diane DeBacker, the Education Commissioner in KS, is sending a letter to politicians responsible for spreading misinformation. Learn more about the information campaign in the article.
Description: Although the Common Core has met with some pretty serious opposition, the U.S. military supports it for several key reasons. First, military families are very transient, so nearly-nationwide education standards would finally allow students to pick up where they left off from school to school. Also, with schools all teaching the same thing, it could help improve living conditions for military personnel. Finally, better-educated soldiers could help improve national security.
Description: A micro-article explains Arizona legislature’s decision to rename the Common Core State Standards.
Description: A Sept. 24 article from Ed Week describes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s attempts to dispel myths about the Common Core, and encourage support from businesses for the reform. However, it seems that large-scale, national support isn’t what will win people over, and that extremists on each side of the political spectrum are fervently opposing the new standards.
A short article from the National Journal about what the Common Core was supposed to be – a positive education reform – vs. what it has become – a hotly-contested political agenda item – says that the sticking point for many Common Core critics is standardized testing.
Description: From Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media watchdog group, an article corrects the mischaracterizations of the Common Core in a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial.
Description: Charles Blow illuminates a problem in American education in an opinion piece for the New York Times. He cites several studies showing that the American public wants students to learn the types of things the Common Core is poised to teach them, and that learning objectives need to change for our students to become and remain competitive academically against their international peers.
Description: Common Core 101, a backgrounder prepared by the Alliance for Excellent Education, addresses six questions many critics and skeptics of the Common Core are asking.
Description: Education Secretary Arnie Duncan responded to criticism about the Common Core, saying that issues are “imaginary” and an attempt to misinform the American public. He urged journalists to learn and report the truth about the promise of the Common Core. He said, “The New York Times has called the Common Core “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” to bring our public schools up to levels of our high-performing international competitors.” Read the full content of his speech delivered Tues., June 25 to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Description: Delaware Governor Jack Markell op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post, highlights the key ways that the Tea Party is incorrect in its assault on the Common Core. He says that while the group claims the reform is from the federal government and will eliminate local control of schools, neither is true. He goes on to state the benefits the Common Core will lead to, such as similar expectations for students moving from state to state and increased ability to compete in the global job market.
Description: In an opinion piece in The Washington Post that criticizes conservative opponents of the Common Core, Michael Gerson argues that these opponents are applying a single, abstract principle -- an ideological commitment to localism in education -- and elevating that principle above all others, regardless of conditions and circumstances. Localism is not the answer to our educational problems, and in any event, the Common Core is not a federal approach but a national approach from institutions outside the federal government. There is no ideal ideological world in which state and local control has resulted in education excellence, Gerson writes.
Description: Educator Kaycee Eckhardt discusses some key Common Core criticisms in an April 2013 column featured in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Casper Star-Tribune, She simply and clearly dispels some of the larger arguments against the Common Core's ability to be effective and bring about real change for American students.
Description: Timothy Shanahan, noted literacy expert, dismantles five myths about the Common Core and shares the truth about them instead in an Educational Leadership blog from ASCD. Told in an urban legend style, he is able to poke fun at the hype and get to the facts.
Description: In a Huffington Post op/ed, author Sarah Brown Wessling (2010 Teacher of the Year), shares concerns that face many teachers today regarding the Common Core. She says many teachers feel the Common Core is one more thing added to their already packed school day, and with no competing programs being taken away to focus on successfully implementing it, teachers are wary. She says they are also concerned that it will take away their autonomy. She shares her rebuttals to these concerns and some mantras to help teachers handle these changes and become more effective in the process.
EGR Superintendent Says Lawmakers Operating on Misconceptions: Common Core Doesn’t Dictate Instruction
Description: In an op-ed that appearad in School News Network, Charles Honey reports on a major school system's superindent's concern that lawmakers in her state, Michigan, are halting the Common Core without really understanding what it's about. She says, "They don't want the facts to get in the way of their decisions."
Description: Discover facts to use when communicating with various audiences about the Common Core. Whether you need to speak to a general audience, families, legislators, or school leaders, this message sheet has you covered. It also has scripts for e-communication. The content was adapted with permission from the Missouri Common Core State Standards Tool Kit.
Description: Kyle Baker, education consultant and director at Peak Collaborative, jotted down his thoughts about the Common Core after reading an article from the website Mother Jones. The well-balanced and thoughtful piece is informal but thoughtful. He views the Common Core as an opportunity in education to continue to grow and achieve.
Description: In an op-ed from Eagle County School District in Colorado, an instructional coach and former eighth-grade teacher says that the Standards are a good thing. A district known for being "ahead of the curve," it has accepted the CCSS and says that they are a step toward equity in education.
Description: Janet Bean, Chair of the Education Committee for Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, wrote a letter to the editor dispelling myths about the Common Core that she's hearing in her area. She says the Common Core will allow students in Louisiana to get the academic rigor they need.
Description: If you are looking for ways to respond to critics, you could take a look at this letter to the editor for a start. Neil Jaffe says that the most ridiculous and outlandish statements are the ones that make the news, and that's what's happening when people criticize the Common Core. He says the standards raise the bar for students while still allowing educators the freedom to teach in a way that works for them.
Description: After Diane Ravitch posted a blog about how she can't support the Common Core, Marc Tucker wrote a blog for Ed Week as a rebuttal. He says that although the new measures are untested, they represent what American educators want their students to know. He doesn't believe, as Ravitch does, that these new standards will be a detriment to American children. He sees them as an opportunity for our schools to do better, even if the standards aren't perfect yet.
Description: Jim Dunn shares his view of what public school communications professionals need to know about communicating Common Core State Standards to their stakeholders. He has included some talking points, areas of advice, and key information that all school PR professionals should know about CCSS.
Description: In an Op/Ed for an Ohio newspaper, Jeb Bush supports the Common Core State Standards, saying that they are a necessary reform designed to help students in the state achieve higher than they had in the past. He acknowledges that the change will be hard, and that critics will continue to find ways to downplay the Common Core's importance in education, but urges leaders to stay the course, since it will ultimately lead to a brighter future for Ohioan (and American) students.