On today, September 17th,  it was refreshing to get a synopsis of where things stand…  As soldiers our concentration is on the battle at hand.  But wars are won with many battles, some are wins, and others not…  But as a soldier you provide opposition to slow the advance in front of you from going forward, and by doing so you allow other battles not to have their reinforcements and their victories help count on your side….

The issue with the Smarter Balanced Assessments and Common Core is not really the difficulty of the subject or test. Standards are relative..   Getting an A+ at Del Tech is not the same as getting one at Harvard… Both have their uses but it is impossible to say both are equal.  Same with the Smarter Balanced Scores versus the old tests… They are lower, because as in giving your kids a Harvard Graded test, they are purposefully made to be difficult so one must expect and understand the lower scores.

The sole problem with Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the accountability piece.  Firing teachers because they don’t hit above 75% proficient… when with the old tests they DID hit 75% proficient.   Closing schools because they average below 30% proficient when with the old tests, the did over 55% proficient….

The accountability piece… That is the problem with Common Core.  That is the problem with the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

And here is how the “accountability piece” is failing….

Perhaps no single K-12 policy is more closely associated with the Obama administration than teacher evaluations tied to student test scores, which the president and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have championed, first through Race to the Top, and then through No Child Left Behind Act waivers.

And perhaps no policy has been as difficult to implement, particularly as states make the transition to new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

The administration initially took a hard line on evaluations, asking states to roll them out over a specific time period and to include state test scores as part of the mix.

But now, via citizen pushback, we have some states wavered not to phase the accountability piece in until 2017-2018. Long after Arne Duncun and his boss have exited government…  Little doubt the new guy will be willing to take on such a political liability by continuing this very unpopular piece in his first years.

On top of that 12 states including Delaware, have until the 2016-2017 year to hold off the accountability piece…Many of them already have evaluation systems in place but need time to link them to tests aligned with the common core or use them for personnel decisions, like hiring and firing…

Complicating matters: Neither of the bills to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act making their way through Congress right now would continue to require states to develop teacher-evaluation systems that rely on student test scores.

It is quite unclear how a new president will be able to cajole and enforce the previous president’s insistence that there be a the link between teacher firing and test scores.

Bottom line it this:  the hard line on tying evaluations and accountability is softening.  Though originally draconian, Illinois had to wait a year for its waiver over timeline issues, Washington State had its waiver pulled because of a rebellion against tying scores to personnel issues; since then, the Duncun caliphate has backed down thorough the issuance of extensions and waivers to result in a patchwork of splotchy timelines that now individual states must follow…  Delaware will have to fire teachers before PA, MD, or NJ for example… Which if they wait long enough, may NEVER have to fire teachers based on test scores…..

States going forward, such as Massachusetts well known for the quality of its education long before Common Core, have given their districts much more time to acquire a method of using two forms of evaluations for holding students accountable, not just the tests.  This has taken extra time. What’s more, the state gave districts even more extra time to pinpoint measures for another component of the evaluations—educator impact,

Corporate proponents still supporting the linking of test scores to genocide of teachers are hoping this connection continues through inertia even though its been dropped from the ESEA legislation in Congress…

They have their work cut out for them if they wish it to be so….

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