Thursday, February 20, 2014

The High Cost of Common Core.

The " Smarter Balanced Assessment" known as " Common Core" may have disrupted the learning and testing process in California . I just spent several hours watching a Pro's and Con's about Common Core on TV . Regardless some of the panelists agree that  California 's suspending the STAR TEST may have dug the state's educational  nails into the soil. California is defying the requirements of No Child Left Behind, Testing season begins soon in U.S. public schools, requiring millions of students to spend days answering standardized questions in math and reading, as mandated by an outdated federal lawBut this year is filled with tumult. Educators are questioning the purpose of testing, lawmakers in several states are pushing back against federal regulations, and a momentous standoff between California — the state with the largest number of public school students — and the Obama administration looms. But California says it can’t administer the tests this year because, like much of the country, it has adopted new Common Core national academic standards and the corresponding exams aren’t ready. Remember the words " aren't ready" , the Sate Department of Education is vary behind in creating the "test" to replace the STAR , it convinces me that Common Core is vary poorly conceived as a replacement for STAR . There is a boiling opposition of it on both the Right and Left .  The Common Core curriculum it's self as was examined by the panel on TV with some outstanding remarks . FirstThis was done with insufficient public dialogue or feedback from experienced educators, no research, no pilot or experimental programs — no evidence at all that a floor-length list created by unnamed people attempting to standardize what’s taught is a good idea. SecondThe Common Core Standards assume that what kids need to know is covered by one or another of the traditional core subjects. In fact, the unexplored intellectual terrain lying between and beyond those familiar fields of study is vast, expands by the hour, and will go in directions no one can predict. ThirdSo much orchestrated attention is being showered on the Common Core Standards, the main reason for poor student performance is being ignored—a level of childhood poverty the consequences of which no amount of schooling can effectively counter. Forth,  he Common Core Standards are a set-up for national standardized tests, tests that can’t evaluate complex thought, can’t avoid cultural bias, can’t measure non-verbal learning, can’t predict anything of consequence (and waste boatloads of money). FifthIn a recent white paper, “Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare Students for STEM,” professors James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky explain how the Common Core math standards do not include academic standards that prepare high school students for STEM programs. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The lead author for the Common Core math standards, Jason Zimba, publicly stated that the standards provide students enough mathematics to make them ready for nonselective colleges and not for STEM. One has to wonder why Tom Raffio, chairman of the state board of education, failed to mention that deficiency. The Common Core math standards put students on a path to complete algebra I by the end of 9th grade. This is two years behind students in the top-performing countries and one year behind the old superior California math standards.

California's big loss.......
California, threatened with the loss of $3.5 billion in federal funds for suspending high-stakes testing next spring, has tweaked its exam plan. But it's not certain that the change, which was not cleared first with U.S. officials, will ease the threat to take away funds. Federal lawrequires states to annually test students in English and math and publish results. The state still doesn't plan to release results, and it doesn't plan to give any student a comprehensive sample test. Instead, most students will take about half the math test and half the English test. A representative sampling of California students, or 5 percent of those tested, will take the full test in just one subject or the other -- so that the test developers can refine their questions. Without test results, the state will not calculate an Academic Performance Index score for each school and school district in 2014, and possibly in 2015. Meanwhile, educators across the country are watching California’s standoff with Washington. California officials say that beginning March 18, they will give the math and reading Common Core field tests to all 3.4 million students in the designated testing grades, at a cost of about $51 million .The federal government has not resolved what to do about California, but federal officials said a decision could come as soon as this week.
A technology that costs too much.
School Districts have been spending more and more on getting the students ready for Common Core , one of the budgeted items is the expansion of touch I pads , Google  Chrome laptops . Sacramento-area school districts have spent millions of dollars in the past two years upgrading their broadband connections and buying computers and other technology so thousands of students can simultaneously take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, which will replace the former pencil-and-paper STAR test. The arrival of these standards – and the accompanying tests – have put the purchase of computers at the top of every district’s priority list. The Legislature boosted the effort by making $1.25 billion available this school year for computers, bandwidth and training. School districts also passed bonds, dipped into their general funds and used federal technology dollars. States will spend up to an estimated $10 billion up front, then as much as $800 million per year for the first seven years that the controversial program is up and running. Much of the cost is on new, Common Core-aligned textbooks and curriculum, but the added expenses also include teacher training, technology upgrades, testing and assessment. The figures are taking states by surprise.

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