I will confess; I am NOT fully up-to-speed on this issue. But I was reading over the minutes from the Board Work Session on CCSS that was held on October 19, 2011 and wanted to point out several issues around CCSS as well as what parents know or don't know.
To note, some of the confusion is that we have Washington State Standards, SPS graduation requirements and CCSS and while there is overlap, I believe they all have differences. What they are and what they mean to your child remains to be seen.
The following is straight from the minutes.
Guests from OSPI were Deputy Superintendent Alan Burke and Assistant Superintendent Jessica Vavrus.
He (Mr. Burke) also noted that most states are aligning with CCSS standards, acknowledging the need to have national curriculum alignment, and that as of today, more than 40 states have adopted CCSS, including Washington. Directors expressed familiarity with CCSS policy development and noted common core standards should not be confused with graduation requirements.
Ms. Vavrus described the CCSS initiative and standards, transition plans from GLEs to the CCSS, implementation timeline, supports, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), and shifts in math and language arts. She explained their learning goals, the case for CCSS (clarity, cost-effective, student success & consistent standards from state to state), how CCSS implementation is different, Phases 1-4 timeline through 2014-15, professional learning resources and statewide transition and implementation supports (quarterly webinar series, symposiums for school district teams, public forums, and conferences throughout the year). CCSS professional learning resources refer to non-monetary resources like tapping into other state’s curriculum and other groups’ expertise.
Directors noted OSPI needs to be clear about what curriculum is vs. what materials are to avoid making erroneous assumptions.
Directors noted that SPS cannot keep shortening the school year while trying to improve test scores, and asked what is the difference between CCSS and Washington State standards, and will CCSS use increased vigor.and higher standards. Mr. Burk replied we are not lowering but stepping up standards so students are college ready at 11th grade.
Ms. Vavrus said the goal is implementation in 2014 and requires building CCSS awareness statewide, working with schools and Education Service Districts, and building a statewide communications team to work with the Washington Education Association (WEA) and PTAs.&nbs
Mr. Burke explained cost savings with CCSS ($20 vs. $43) per student test, due to economies of scale, and noted that they are not ready yet to use online exams. Directors noted there is a long lead time to upgrade school networks to facilitate online testing if CCSS decides to do that. (Note; they mention SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) which I believe may replace MSP.)
Directors asked how the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) correlates with CCSS. Mr. Burke said that is not clear and the goal is that SBAC will replace Measures of Student Progress testing, but he anticipates there will be resistance to changes.
Ms. Vasquez discussed the need to engage communities to discuss the shift that is coming. Supt. Enfield commented on the need to orient our teachers to this shift and finding ways and the time to engage teachers. Directors noted there is awareness that standards are changing in the community.
Directors asked about those students who do not want to go to college and Supt. Enfield said the emphasis is on making students college ready even if a student is not headed that way and
noted the need to have high standards.
End of minutes.
I may be wrong but I think parents may only have the vaguest of ideas that standards are changing but this kind of big shift where it will affect student testing, textbooks and possibly graduation requirements? That's information that should be getting out there in a timely fashion so parents don't get a big information overload all at once.