Is California “Common Core Unrest State #23”?
In response to my post, UPDATE: Common Core Unrest in 22 States, I received the following comment:
You should include California. It is the sleeping giant that no one is paying attention to and here is why: First, this past summer, California Republican Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning Common Core. Based on your above analysis, this alone would qualify the state on your list. Second, Gov. Brown has repeatedly stated he is opposed to any government-controlled standards and testing. He just said it again just this past week. Third, California received no Race to the Top grants for K-12. Therefore, CA would have no RTTP money to worry about and could reallocate state Common Core funds to spend on teachers and schools. Fourth, California is a “local control state.” This means that any school district may reject Common Core. Awareness and revolt is growing here (California has been lagging other states) and with the 2014 election year coming, watch the sparks fly, especially in Republican dominated school districts.
Indeed, California is still under the defunct No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements– which Duncan decided to use in to hold California hostage when the state decided in September 2013 to revamp its standardized testing because the old tests did not complement the new Common Core (CCSS) (for which CA accepted no RTTT money).
California is also the only state in which Duncan has blatantly ignored federalism and waived NCLB for select districts within a state. (Duncan’s “waiving” NCLB is in itself shaky since NCLB is a federal law.) As Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss reports:
While new [California] tests aligned with the Common Core are being designed, state officials want to replace the old tests with a limited version of the exams that are coming in 2015 — but only in those districts that have the technology to administer the exams, which are to be done on computers. That makes infinite sense, too. Because this is an experiment, California officials don’t want the scores of the tests to be included in an official measure of school quality.
But here’s the problem: The No Child Left Behind law, which Congress was supposed to have rewritten in 2007, remains in force and mandates annual exams. To implement this plan, California would need a waiver from the U.S. Education Department exempting it from No Child Left Behind mandates. Duncan began offering waivers from the most onerous NCLB mandates in 2011 to states that agreed to implement reforms he liked, and 34 states and the District of Columbia obtained them.
Now he is offering to let those states and the District renew their waivers, but, again, only by pursuing reforms he likes. California sought a NCLB waiver, but Duncan rejected its application on the grounds that the state would not agree to use students’ standardized-test scores to evaluate teachers — an assessment method that many experts say is unfair. But get this: Eight school districts in California banded together to apply for an NCLB waiver — agreeing to using scores to assess teachers — and Duncan this past summer agreed to give them one. That meant the federal government was bypassing the state government to control the accountability systems of individual school districts. [Emphasis added.]
It should come as no surprise, then, that at the October 2013 California Republican Convention, delegates formally resolved to reject CCSS:
This weekend at the California Republican Party State Convention delegates overwhelmingly pass a resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards, language below:
Resolution ( F2013-2) to Oppose and Eliminate Common Core Education Policies in California
Whereas the federally-promoted Common Core national curriculum-content standards in math and English (and now the related Next Generation national standards in science) water down what has been expected academically of California’s K-12 students;
Whereas the Common Core tests will collect extensive data on students, and the Obama administration has turned upside down federal regulations that previously protected student privacy;
Whereas Common Core is accompanied by federally-funded tests, and the Obama administration’s promotion of national standards and national tests violate federal statutes that protect us against a national K-12 curriculum;
Whereas Common Core and Next Generation are national efforts at one-size-fits-all uniformity and, as such, go against our system of competitive federalism under our American Constitution;
Now, Therefore Be It Resolved, by the Republican Party in convention on Oct. 6, 2013, in Anaheim, California, that the Republican Party call on state legislators, the State Board of Education, and local school board members to sever ties with, not participate in, or align with Common Core and Next Generation when it comes to adoption of standards, teaching materials, or tests.
Now, Duncan and other supporters have tried hard to make any rejection of CCSS to appear to be all Tea Party. However, keep in mind that Duncan bypassed the State of California in offering NCLB waivers directly to a handful of California districts prior to the formal drafting of this resolution. Furthermore, the resolution was voted on and approved by the entire California Republican Convention.
Consider this timeline:
In September 2013, California appealed to Duncan for NCLB waiver for what is clearly unfair testing using defunct NCLB tests on RTTT standards and resulting curriculum. Duncan wanted all students tested using assessments that did not fit.
In October 2013, the California Republican Party officially rejected CCSS.
In November 2013, Duncan expanded his list of CCSS “enemies” to include “white suburban mothers” who cannot seem to come to grips with the CCSS-induced realization that their children aren’t “brilliant.”
Thus, Duncan is willing to swing his CCSS-protective bat beyond the Tea Party, taking aim at those apparently-delusional white (yes, he did say that) suburban mothers.
It seems that this CCSS unrest across America has become too pronounced for Duncan to sell as “a Tea Party issue.”
Based upon my findings in this post, I must agree with the commenter who wrote that California is experiencing CCSS unrest.
The number of states evidencing CCSS unrest is indeed 23.
That is half of the CCSS “adoption” states (and DC), folks.