Friday, March 14, 2014

Common Core Ad Blitz Targets Conservatives

This from Morning Education at Politico (via email):
The Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others will launch a national advertising blitz Sunday aimed at persuading Republicans who are hedging on the Common Core. The spots promoting the standards will air on Fox News and other conservative outlets and they strike a positive tone with teachers praising the standards.
The campaign is a major ad buy that could last for months and aims to undercut dire tea party warnings that the standards amount to a federal power grab, akin to Obamacare.

In a parallel effort unfolding mostly in deep red states, thousands of small business owners and corporate executives have been bombarding state lawmakers with emails, calls and personal visits to emphasize that better standards will mean a better workforce and ultimately, a better economy. The overall strategy: Give conservatives reasons to support the Common Core and tell them they'll reap dividends if they do. "We're telling the legislature that this is our No. 1 issue," said Todd Sanders, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. "We will be watching."

But tea party activists aren't intimidated. They're convinced the business community's tactics will backfire. "Frankly, they can rant and rave as much as they want. They're not going to affect me and I don't think they're going to affect any others," Arizona state Sen. Al Melvin said. "I'm a businessman. But sometimes, these chambers of commerce get it wrong." 
 This from the Business Roundtable:

The Common Core State Standards represent an ambitious, state-led initiative to outline what all students should know in K–12 English language arts and mathematics to prepare them, grade by grade, to graduate from high school ready for college or the workforce. Developed by educators and other experts under the leadership of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core State Standards were launched in 2009 and have since been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The Common Core State Standards are a potential game changer in terms of developing a more skilled, prepared U.S. workforce. In addition to being internationally benchmarked, they are significantly clearer and more rigorous than previous state standards and, importantly, aligned with college and employer expectations to ensure that U.S. students have the skills and knowledge they need to compete in the modern global economy.

Of course, higher standards do not guarantee better student achievement. Although the Common Core State Standards may serve as the spark that ignites action, positive impact will ultimately depend on successful implementation. Business leaders have an important role to play in communicating the value of the Common Core State Standards and ensuring their successful implementation, particularly because the initial test results can be misleading. When standards change, test scores tend to drop temporarily because the new assessments are more demanding. Likewise, when students first take assessments based on the content and skills included in the Common Core State Standards, their scores are likely to decrease until teachers become more adept in helping students learn the new content and skills. The business community’s continued support is essential to maintaining a long-term commitment to the more demanding standards and tests.

Policy Solution
The Business Roundtable supports the full adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards as a pathway toward building a more skilled, prepared workforce. The following
solutions will help ensure that the standards are successfully implemented:

Ensure Improved Educational Outcomes: State and local policymakers should ensure that the shift to more rigorous standards results in improved educational outcomes, such as higher high school graduation rates with no need for remediation at college or work. Specifically, policymakers should:
Replace Previous State Tests: To assess how well students understand the content and skills in the Common Core State Standards, states should replace existing tests with high-quality assessments. New assessments should use the capabilities of online testing, which can provide more accurate measures of student learning and more timely results. States should use common assessments, whether developed by a consortium of states or other providers, which will improve the comparability of scores across states.
Hold Schools Accountable: States should hold all schools accountable for achieving challenging, but attainable, growth targets for all groups of students on state assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Prepare Teachers and School Leaders: States should align teacher and school leader preparation and professional development to the Common Core State Standards, including best practices and instructional materials. Professional development efforts should also provide opportunities to develop and share lessons and analyze and use data to improve instruction.
Deploy and Apply Technology Effectively: States should effectively deploy and apply technology to improve learning, teaching and management. Technology can be used to motivate students, individualize the content and pace of instruction, provide enrichment, and increase the productivity of K–12 education.
Communicate Expectations at the Next Level: States should use the Common Core State Standards to help educators understand and communicate expectations at the next level, which will ease student transitions, especially between major grade levels.
Not a bad description of Kentucky has been trying to do under Senate Bill 1.

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