As West Virginia Threatens to Dump Common Core, WV Teachers Union Works to Keep It.
As the March 1, 2015, WV State Journal reports:
Under the proposed measure, the West Virginia Board of Education would undertake a comprehensive review of the standards on or before July 16, 2015 to ensure that the Common Core Standards, as approved by the board in May 2010, are repealed. Also stated in the proposed bill is that “no assessments designed to assess student learning based on the common core standards, including but not limited to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, will be used in West Virginia public schools.” The proposed measure would require the state board to conduct at least four regional, town hall-style meetings to engage in public discussion and would require not more than one statewide assessment per school year.
The State Journal also notes that the bill includes language about stakeholder teams’ developing new WV English and math standards.
The VW House CCSS repeal gained bipartisan support. However, the WV state board of education did not want CCSS repealed.
Apparently, WV governor Earl Ray Tomblin is not publicly offering a position on CCSS.
As of March 3, 2015, the bill has moved forward to a WV Senate subcommittee.
WV Federation of Teachers president Christine Campbell does not support WV’s CCSS repeal, citing, among other issues, that “it took two years to develop the Next Generation standards.”
Actually, CCSS writing did not take two years. It was two years from the time that Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) president Gene Wilhoit and CCSS “lead architect” David Coleman asked billionaire Bill Gates to bankroll CCSS (summer of 2008) to the official debut of CCSS (June 2010).
As to initially projected writing time, the CCSS memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlined only five months for CCSS writing– from the projected completion of the “anchor” standards in July 2009 to the scheduled completion of the entire CCSS in December 2009. The National Governors Association (NGA) and CCSSO (the CCSS owners) did not keep this schedule; however, the point is that they thought they could and rushed the process. (I examine this in greater detail in my upcoming book on CCSS.)
Add to this rush job the fact that there was no CCSS field testing, including no examination of long-term financial costs to states for CCSS and its consortium assessments.
And yet, the WV Federation of Teachers unswervingly supports CCSS. It seems that when it comes to CCSS, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and its state affiliates are so faithful because they are wed to the National Democratic Party. No other explanation remotely accounts for why AFT would try to reach a compromise with Obama-administration-friendly Center for American Progress on the issue of federally mandated testing.
To date, the Democratic parties in all states except Washington continue to cling to CCSS. Ironic that Washington State Dems were the first to flatly reject CCSS since Washington is the home state of CCSS purchaser Bill Gates.
Also interesting: The term “Common Core” is notably absent from the education page of the National Democratic Party website. Yet it is no secret Democrats support CCSS, with US Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) authoring an amendment to incorporate CCSS and its assessments into the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). (Note that CCSS was never designed to be separated from the annual testing birthed in No Child Left Behind.)
Furthermore, Senate Ed Committee ranking member, Democratic Senator Patty Murray, has no plans to scale back the number of standardized tests in the Senate’s proposed ESEA reauthorization bill.
In short, influential Democrats want both CCSS and loads of standardized testing.
Let us consider how this is playing out in West Virginia, where “never tested itself” CCSS is threatened.
On March 7, 2015, the WV Federation of Teachers is planning a rally to save CCSS. Here is how they are advertising the event:
Our Kids Deserve Better.
State legislators are pushing proposals that are bad for kids and schools.
Some West Virginia lawmakers are devaluing children and public education by pushing legislation that would deprive our schools of resources and break the promise of a great education for West Virginia’s children.
AFT president Randi Weingarten is the keynote speaker.
The notice also includes a detailed busing schedule.
That CCSS is pretty valuable in certain circles, so much so that it is being marketed as a “civil rights issue.”
That tag line sure makes rush-job CCSS sound a lot less Republican. But be careful, faithful, Core-toting Democrat. You’re sure to bump right into the presidential ambitions of CCSS buddy, Jeb Bush.
Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.