Colorado Re-Examines Future With Common Core

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The Colorado GOP is currently considering a reverse on its stance on curriculum and standards after the state Board of Education publicly approved a Republican-sponsored bill to remove the state from Common Core and its aligned assessments.

According to State Sen. Owen Hill, there has been too much change in education in the state at too quick a rate, which has resulted in the forming of a distrust between schools, teachers and parents.  In addition, state-mandated tests need to return results more quickly to educators.

“We have to figure out how we can make tweaks so we still have the necessary components of good education here in Colorado,” Hill said. “I don’t think it’s backtracking at all. I think it’s the exact opposite. I would be more concerned if people were saying, ‘No, this is how we are going to do it come hell or high water.’ “

Former GOP lawmaker Keith King said there is too much testing in the state with PARCC tests occurring in the fall and the spring, and they are not resulting in improved outcomes for students within the state, writes Eric Gorski for The Denver Post.

“It’s just become too much,” King said. “It’s become overwhelming. We have gotten away from educating kids to assessing kids, and I think that is where the pushback is starting to come from.”

This month’s meeting of the state Board of Education saw two ways to withdraw the state from the Common Core standards presented by Antony Dyl, senior assistant attorney general.

In 2012, lawmakers voted to require the state to participate in a multi-state consortium that would develop standardized tests for English and math.  In addition, the state joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

This will be the first year that students will take the PARCC tests, which are set to begin in a few weeks.

While state law requires consortium participation “at least until Jan. 1, 2014,” Dyl said nothing is written concerning who is able to decide to withdraw, and when, writes Debbie Kelley for The Gazette.

The easiest option would be to repeal a section of the statute, which would allow the State Board to create new assessments for reading, writing, math and science.  However, a second option would be to ask the governor, education commissioner and chairperson of the State Board to all sign a withdrawal agreement.  Dyl said this second route would require legislative action in order to create replacement assessments.

If the PARCC assessments are not replaced, the state risks losing its federal funding associated with the No Child Left Behind Act.

“There’s no federal requirement that any state participate in Common Core. Texas hasn’t adopted Common Core and has its own assessments, and they’re fine with federal funding,” he said.