Reforms > Common Core

Hundreds of organizations sign statement backing Common Core



Credit: John C. Osborn/EdSource Today

More than 300 California business, nonprofit and children’s groups have signed a statement supporting the Common Core State Standards and staying the course amid the discord over Common Core in other states. (Go here for full statement.)

“While we recognize the hard work that needs to be done by teachers, district leaders, and state policymakers to make Common Core implementation successful, we believe that the investments and hard work will pay off for our students in the long run in preparing them for college and career,” says the one-page statement, which was circulated by the nonprofit advocacy group Children Now. Signers range from the California State PTA and the American Youth Rugby Union to the California Society for Biomedical Research and the Vacaville Police Activities League. A half-dozen chapters of the United Way, various chambers of commerce and some county and urban district superintendents also signed on.

Debra Brown, Children Now’s associate director of education policy, said that the letter was intended to show that Common Core “has deep and broad support” – an impression that can be lost amid the noise created by smaller numbers of vocal opponents.

Backers conceived of the statement in early spring, Brown said, when they were worried about the Common Core practice, or field, test that all districts planned to administer on behalf of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Smarter Balanced is a states-led organization, in which California has a lead role.

“We were approaching the field test with trepidation” and were worried about “knee-jerk reactions” if there had been major breakdowns. As it turned out, the field test went smoother than many had expected, Brown said, “but the underlying message of our support statement still applies and demonstrates how committed we as a state are” to implement Common Core, knowing that obstacles will arise.

Brown acknowledged that implementation has been inconsistent throughout the state, with some districts “more aggressive than others” in rolling it out. Children Now and other education groups have called on Gov. Jerry Brown to make room in the state budget for more one-time money for districts to pay for teacher training, materials and technology, although that was not the purpose of the letter. Brown included $1.25 billion in the current budget for Common Core but no more in his proposed budget for next year.

With the first round of actual Smarter Balanced tests scheduled for next spring, Brown said she’s aware that teachers and districts are concerned about how the results will be interpreted and used. But, as the letter notes, there’s “an important need for policymakers, district leaders, teachers, parents, business leaders and community members … to maintain reasonable expectations.”

The statement will be sent to Gov. Brown and legislators. Debra Brown is hoping education groups send it to their members.

Filed under: Common Core

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40 Responses to “Hundreds of organizations sign statement backing Common Core”

  1. Paul Muench said

    on June 6, 2014 at 5:58 am

    In a state as big as California only 300 organizations/individuals would sign? I didn’t realize the situation over common core was so dire that such a thing would need to be made public. (End sarcasm) Really, what was this really for?

    • Floyd Thursby replied

      on June 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I really don’t get the only 300 thing, do you realize how hard it was to organize? How many would it take for you to respect the effort to set aside negativity and unify behind a good cause? 500? 1000? You have no idea how hard some people worked to organize this. If you were going to criticize below a certain number, you should state that number and they would have waited. I think your line of reasoning is very unfair and you are just looking for something nasty to say rather than work towards something positive.

      • Paul Muench replied

        on June 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        I don’t think that’s what Common Core had on mind when it talks about critical thinking :)

        Probably something more like this. This was not a random sample so absolute numbers matter. California has about 33 million residents. So 300 is basically irrelevant compared to that number. So perhaps those 300 are somehow special compared to other residents. I can see making that case for the superintendents who signed. I’m giving them credit for not signing for purely political reasons. California has about 1,000 school districts. So why did so few superintendents sign? Only a small fraction of the signers were superintendents. If this is about unity it seems to have jumped the gun, just going by the numbers.

        If you have the inside scoop behind the motivation here please share the scoop.

        • Floyd Thursby replied

          on June 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

          Paul, Obama won the election, elections matter. He clearly raised his own two children better than 99% of Californians. Let’s show him some respect and get with the program. Our job now is to implement his vision. Nothing gets done while we bicker. You’re also assuming every person voted one way or another, some didn’t know, some were neutral, but the point is it’s the law of the land, we need to make it work. Do you think by having people bicker they’re going to say you know what, let’s go back to RTTP or NCLB and star tests, let’s forget all this? So if that’s unlikely, let’s do what’s best for our children. Every year of delaying the test due to bickering hurts every child who doesn’t take a test and every parent who doesn’t get results back.

          • Paul Muench replied

            on June 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

            I can morph what you said into something I believe in, but that’s no reason to shut down critical thinking. Especially since this petition seems to cast more doubt on Common Core than help.

          • Paul Muench replied

            on June 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm

            BTW, I think Obama’s vision is that California adopted Common Core voluntarily out of its own vision. So I would recommend against pursing that argument further.

          • Floyd Thursby replied

            on June 7, 2014 at 12:07 am

            This is just negative energry. We’re behind most other advanced nations and you are taking a positive statement and trying to turn it negative. I’m going to help my kids study for the future common core tests during the summer to help the US be more competitive internationally and guard against summer learning loss. If everyone did this we would be #1, not Poland, South Korea, Germany, etc. Wake up! Let’s all unify behind something, not bicker. I can’t remember one reform movement everyone embraced. Let’s work together, not tear each other down with negative energy!

          • JKI replied

            on June 18, 2014 at 6:25 pm

            “I’m going to help my kids study for the future common core tests during the summer”

            And I’m going to opt-out my 4.0 GPA level children from ever being involved in Smarter Balanced and/or Common Core testing. The entire concept has been corrupted by third parties thirst for data.

  2. el said

    on June 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I’m relieved to hear that the American Youth Rugby Union has applied their considerable expertise to reviewing the situation and taken a proactive stand.

    • S & P 500 replied

      on June 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Yes, and I’m relieved when teachers who are completely clueless about the stock market and who can’t even tell you what is the current DJIA insist that their pensions are affordable and CalSTRS’ $166 billion of unfunded pension liabilities isn’t a problem.

    • CarolineSF replied

      on June 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      That should put all concerns to rest.

      • Floyd Thursby replied

        on June 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        The union was clearly being fiscally irresponsible. They knew about this and were not thinking ahead. They figured if they slipped a 21% raise by us then it would be a Greek tragedy if it were later cut by 10% and they could pressure for more taxes, which may not be possible, so maybe other services would be cut. The union really made themselves look bad with that one. They were arguing about a delay, but the pension liability can’t be delayed, only dealing with it can. I have to give it to Brown, that was good governance to make sure that was dealt with first. We were walking into a repeat of the 2009-2012 disaster of huge cuts and lay offs again. Put some of this extra money in the bank for a rainy day. Let’s build up a year’s budget before we blow it, so we have a reserve.

    • navigio replied

      on June 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      I was surprised to hear rugby players have a union.. ;-)

    • ann replied

      on June 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

      “….. rather than reciting facts from a reading passage, students are asked to show deeper understanding, such as examining the theme of the passage, using information from text to explain their answer. Local districts and teachers have been reviewing and updating how they teach the new standards to students over the last few years, and are earnestly engaged in exposing students to this new approach to learning.” These expectations are only semantically different from the world class California State Standards. True those standards were widely resisted by our education establishment including universities tasked with training new teachers, making their implementation languid at best .After nearly 15 years it remains dubious that our teaching staff at large had a real grasp on what they were supposed to teach! Is it any wonder we are now experiencing a similar push back with common core? In my district we had side-by-side standards comparisons with common core and the ‘old’ standards as one of our ‘common core trainings’ This exercise demonstrated that 1) the two are essentially the same and 2) clearly the ‘old’ standards are much more user friendly and easy to follow. It was a case of “be careful what you wish for” as teachers realized this was only going to make their jobs more complicated even as it provides years of employment for the multitude of “common core consultants” who are working for the publishers. Their new contracts now describe their miraculously attained expertise in “common core” and they will be the advisors and trainers for districts on implementing newly adopted curriculum. Cha-ching$$ The assessments ARE the big change and, frankly are far from ready for valid and reliable data analysis and likely won’t be for several more years.

  3. FloydThursby said

    on June 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Wait a second Paul, so it would be better if no one supported it? Your attitude is just going to make things worse. I am not getting tests back for my children for probably years, tests which have greatly helped me and my children focus and improve. The whole point of this is to start the bickering and get everyone putting their energy towards making this work. Your reaction causes more of the same problem this proactive action was meant to overcome. You make people feel bad they spoke out and tried to make a difference and essentially are encouraging them to stay silent and do nothing, but while that was happening, the common core was being delayed by bickering and negativity.

    You’re not part of the solution man…you’re part of the problem. Both of you!

    • FloydThursby replied

      on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I meant to stop the bickering. It’s too hard to come up with a new system now and a lot of work went into this. We need to unify and make this work. If we delay now and bicker, it will be 5 years before we have tests. Sometimes we need to all bring positive energy forward and make it work. The negative energy about this is really disconcerting.

  4. Paul Muench said

    on June 7, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Only one last thing I need to say. I never intend my criticisms of someone’s point of view to mean that they should keep quiet. Exactly the opposite, they should argue and try to convince me otherwise. I think that I have demonstrated that behavior here myself in this post and consistently on EdSource today.

    • Manuel replied

      on June 7, 2014 at 10:11 am

      That’s a rather cryptic statement. Cryptic because it comes from left field, in my opinion.

      There are times when I don’t agree with you, but I’ve never noticed you ever telling anyone to be quiet and go away. It is a free country still, no?

      Having said that, I believe you are correct in your assessment of this push for credibility by those promoting the Common Core. That Common Core has been hung around Obama’s neck is a travesty, but that’s on him because he put Duncan in there. (If I knew then what I know now, maybe having “47% Mitt” there would have woken up the American people. It would have been a disaster otherwise, but people would have woken up. This is, of course, my opinion.)

      The bottom line is that Common Core is, at its core (pardon the redundancy), a business opportunity for a great many of its promoters as well as a way to keep the “accountability” and “pursuit of excellence” memes alive and well while not doing any of either.

      Like that great American icon never said, “there’s a sucker born every minute.” :-)

      • FloydThursby replied

        on June 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        The real crux of the problem is that we waste so much energy on negativity. It really holds us back and hurts our children. I would be willing to support rejecting the common core if we could agree on another plan. I felt the STAR tests were fine and would be happy to go back to them if we could just unify with positive energy and work together with our children and leaders to ensure every parent helps their child study hard and we work together to surpass the other nations ahead of us on international testing as soon as possible, as a national priority the way Sputnik inspired us. However, with Sputnik, the work was done by a relatively small number of people. This mission requires not just talk, but actual life changing action on the part of all of us. Every parent and child who is lazy hurts the cause. Every one doing the right thing should be praised. The slackers should be called out. We have to do it together.

        I heard all the same bickering regarding NCLB and RTTP. is there a plan we can get behind, or are we going to drop common core and come up with a whole new plan taking into account millions of viewpoints and many variables, only to have either you or others complaining about that? If that is the case, I say we have no time to lose, we should just embrace this. If you can guarantee it would be the last time, maybe it’s worth considering. I predict that some make an industry of complaining about every reform, the union is against testing being meaningful (accountability requires some being fired sometimes, and test scores being a factor, particularly improvement), the right hates national standards and wants kids in home school, others hate it if any company makes money on it, even though Haliburton made money off war, truly a crime, someone makes a buck no matter what.

        Pursuing excellence and accountability has to mean we embrace work, so we don’t protect teachers at the bottom, and we don’t accept any parent or student slacking. We unify!

      • navigio replied

        on June 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        Obama doesnt have an education policy and instead seems content to let others drive the direction, regardless of what it might be. From that standpoint, he deserves any real criticism he gets about common core. That said, most of the criticism he gets related to that is not really criticism of common core, rather criticism of him being who he is and what he stands for, with common core merely being an available tool. If a R prez pushed the same thing, the same people would be for it. Ho Hum.

      • Paul Muench replied

        on June 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

        My response to one of Floyd’s statements ended up in the wrong place. So it was out of context.

    • Manuel replied

      on June 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Ms. Capps, that’s the problem with democracy: it is messy, and the strength of clueless people is its hallmark.

      Of course, we can always hope for a benevolent tyrant, but I don’t think that has worked out too well every time it has been tried…

      • Don replied

        on June 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        There was nothing democratic about the way Common Core was adopted at the point of a sword.

        • Manuel replied

          on June 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

          I was not referring to how Common Core was adopted, merely to the “strength in clueless numbers” comment.

          Incidentally, to the best of my recollection, I don’t remember that anybody put a gun to California’s head to force the state to be in the bandwagon. I am sure it had something to do with the fact that the CSTs were to sunset in 2014 that helped this plus the push to play ball with RTTT. Is there a reasonably unbiased history out there about how and why California was buffaloed into adopting Common Core?

          Who exactly was responsible for Common Core being adopted in California, anyway? Parents can opt-out of the testing, so what will happen if a critical mass of them do so? Will that jeopardize the LCFF grants, especially if the “educational outcomes” cannot be determined if there are too many opt-outs?

          • Don replied

            on June 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

            CCSS was foisted upon the states by the Feds under the guise of an association of Governors, which was funded by the Feds. The USDE used its clout to strong arm states towards adoption a la RTTT. Basically,it’s was modified protection racket to get state on board a new programs and material gravy train for the providers.

          • John Fensterwald replied

            on June 8, 2014 at 8:10 am

            I reported on the adoption of Common Core and its ties to the Race to the Top competition before I moved to EdSource two years ago through the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s Thoughts on Public Education (better known as my column “Educated Guess.”) The search function of the archives isn’t working as well as it once was, but you can start with http://toped.svefoundation.org/?s=common+core+2010&x=0&y=0 then go back into the archives of the spring/summer of 2010. You can decide if it’s objective. I ran several standards opposing the standards by Ze’ev Wurman as well.

          • Manuel replied

            on June 8, 2014 at 10:27 am

            Thank you, John, for reminding us that you’ve been on this beat for a while. Alas, you have not been paid to write a compendium.

            Lucky for us, your colleagues at the Washington Post just did that yesterday and someone sent me a link to the story:

            How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

            Of course, you can read this same revelations (!!) in many other web sites, but they are tinged with partisanship. Now along comes the newspaper who gave us the term “Deepthroat” and I think it is clear that this was not a federal power grab but is, instead, a reset of the educational system of our country on extremely dubious grounds by a group whose interests are, in my opinion, suspect from day one. There is no reason to believe that “upgrading” standards nation-wide will increase educational outcomes just as there is no reason to believe that “accountability” would have improved schools. (If that were the case, California would be at the front of the nation and NCLB would have turned 100% of American children proficient just about now). What is certain is that some people are going to make a ton of money. And considerable ink will be spilled blaming failure on teachers, administrators, and parents, not necessarily in that order.

            Again, I am looking forward to beating the dead horse of “but does it truly measure academic achievement?” (“It is not dead, it is resting!”)

          • el replied

            on June 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm

            Aren’t well all just pining for the fjords?

        • FloydThursby replied

          on June 8, 2014 at 1:08 am

          We need to unify behind one system and work together to make it work. Do you think complaining about this will lead to a different system we can get behind, when people also complained about NCLB and RTTP, and the one before? If not, we will just waste years bickering only to have a new system people say the same thing about. What if they satisfy you with the next one, but another group complains? Let’s get behind one and give it our best shot as a nation, teach our children, work to make it work, then talk about tweaks later. I have no faith overturning common core will lead to unification behind a better system. I think this bickering is endemic and we need to work together.

          • Don replied

            on June 8, 2014 at 8:59 am

            Floyd, if my memory serves me,it was only a couple weeks two ago that you were talking about scrapping these reforms and going back to the old system. Now we must all stop being so negative, get behind the common core and progress as a nation? What nation would that be, China?

          • Floyd Thursby replied

            on June 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm

            I’ll go with either one if we can all unify behind it. To me unification is more important than one specific thing. China is doing some things right, people are willing to sacrifice for the good of the whole, less selfish, and more focused on equal opportunity. They are poorer, but here they have over 3.5 times the chance of getting into a UC, so the Chinese aren’t all wrong. What I said was we should keep the old tests till the new ones are ready. My frustration is skipping a year and maybe two. If you don’t catch problems at 7, 9 may be too late. Some parents don’t do anything about it, but for some it will hurt. It hurts me.

            I’d rather unify behind one system, and which one is less important than that we all work together towards one common goal.

  5. Manuel said

    on June 7, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Wait, the California PTA is one of the signers?

    That KoolAid® must have been really refreshing…
    :-)

    I can hardly wait for Doug and I to have another round on the validity of the SBAC a few years from now to prove that there is actual academic progress taking place year after year as evidence by the growth in scores. ;-)

    (And there will be great rejoicing…)

  6. Don said

    on June 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    It’s like the movie 300.

    Weird thread.

    • Manuel replied

      on June 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Some of the confusion might be lessened if the order of the comments was returned to the “old style.” Now, you gotta look at the posting date/time to make some sense. And often not even then.

      • el replied

        on June 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

        I agree, the change to most recent first on top of the weird paging style makes these comments far less interesting and readable than they used to be. It’s also much much harder to find the most recent comments than it used to be.

  7. Ed Eldridge said

    on June 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

    It is impossible to argue against “higher level” thinking skills, just like you can’t argue against clean water, will Common Core and SBAC deliver on these claims. Not likely, at least in California, given that school funding will not reach 2007 levels till 2021, they are both unfunded mandates. Common Core is like painting the walls on a house with the roof falling in, it does not change the logistics of not giving teachers enough time to prepare/plan,it does not limit the number of different courses they have to teach, it does not substantially provide more money for instructional materials. It does not lower class size.
    More work for teachers, more money for private sector companies. How many of those “300″ are really supporting students or are instead really supporting their own ideologies.
    Common Core and SBAC, will both be phased out in 10-15 years because their is no money in the status quo, money, it is always about the money. Only the foolish pretend it isn’t. Systemic educational programs are not going to fix, cultural/societal problems, but we do like to pretend.

  8. Floyd Thursby said

    on June 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Honestly the thing that bothers me the most is people are putting themselves out there trying to do a good thing and your insults make it so we could have gotten more done if the 300 had just stayed silent and we’d stayed the course. This intimidates organizations in the future from speaking out for what they believe in. It makes people who want to do good just regret it and wished they’d stayed silent.

    I don’t support any movement which tries to intimidate 300 organizations into cowed silence. It’s wrong and won’t help our kids.

  9. William J said

    on June 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The Inside Story of How Bill Gates Bought the Common Core Standards
    In a remarkable job of reporting, Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post describes the creation of the Common Core standards. Two men–Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman–went to see Bill Gates in 2008 to ask him to underwrite national standards. He agreed, and within two years, the standards were written and adopted by almost every state in the nation.This is the closest thing to an educational coup in the history of the United States. Our education system is made up of about 14,000 local school districts; most education policy is set at the state level. But Bill Gates was able to underwrite a swift revolution. It happened so quickly that there was very little debate or discussion. Almost every consequential education group was funded by the Gates Foundation to study or promote the Common Core standards. Whereas most businesses would conduct pilot testing of a major new product, there was no pilot testing of the Common Core. These national standards were written with minimal public awareness or participation, and at least one state–Kentucky–adopted them before the final draft was finished.
    What made the Gates’ coup possible was the close relationship between the Gates Foundation and the Obama administration. When the administration launched its Race to the Top competition, it issued a list of things that states had to do to be eligible for a share of $4.35 billion. One was to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards.” Administration officials, Layton writes, originally planned to specify that states had to adopt the Common Core, still not yet finished, but were warned to use the term “college and career ready,” to avoid the appearance of imposing the Common Core (which was their intent). Leave aside for the moment the fact that it is illegal for any federal official to attempt to direct, control, or influence curriculum or instruction.

    • William J replied

      on June 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Never before has one man had the wealth, the political connections, and the grand ambition to buy American education. But Bill Gates did it.

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