Learn about the Common Core Debate

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The great testing debate begins
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has meetings planned Monday and Tuesday at its Malden headquarters. Ahead of an expected decision in November, board members are scheduled to explore whether to retain the MCAS exam, shift to the federal PARCC exam, or adopt changes in existing assessments.
Despite being tedious and grueling for students, standardized testing is highly potent political topic. That is because, at its core, testing is about accountability in the schools and a critical component of education reform. The movement to replace the homegrown MCAS with federal PARCC test (derived from Common Core curricula) is seen by some as an attack on the high testing standards that distinguish Massachusetts public education.
The Globe devotes much of its editorial page to the issue today. The Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios writes: “…Adopting PARCC locks Massachusetts, the nation’s education leader, into inferior education standards. Common Core may help some low-performing states, but it is too low a bar for Massachusetts.”http://bit.ly/1jPtZbK
On the other hand, today’s Globe editorial states: “…PARCC promises to provide even better educational results for Massachusetts students. PARCC aligns with the Common Core national academic standards, diminishes the need for ‘teaching to the test,’ and provides more accurate assessments of student progress.” http://bit.ly/1MNQ6eo
And the Globe’s Joanna Weiss takes a sample math question — on its face a complicated one — as an object lesson about what’s right and possibly wrong with the PARCC test. http://bit.ly/1RjMWy4
And for a deep backgrounder on the testing controversy, see Michael Jonas’ CommonWealth Magazine story, which explore both the politics and the academics involved in the debate over Common Core, PARCC, and the MCAS. http://bit.ly/1jyOLMQ

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