Alliance calls for delay in Common Core implementation

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The Learning First Alliance, which includes the AFT among its member organizations, is calling on policymakers to allow more time for the formal implementation of the Common Core State Standards, particularly the high-stakes consequences tied to Common Core testing, to ensure the required instructional alignment and supports necessary for meaningful college- and career-ready standards are provided.

"Rushing to make high-stakes decisions such as student advancement or graduation, teacher evaluation, school performance designation or state funding awards based on assessments of the standards before they have been fully and properly implemented is unwise," the LFA statement says.

"We continue to see growing opposition to the standards as officials move too quickly to use aligned assessments in high-stakes accountability decisions. Such actions have the potential to undermine the standards themselves—and thus our opportunity to improve education for all students. We must take the necessary time to ensure we succeed in this endeavor."

The Learning First Alliance includes more than a dozen organizations whose members are dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. "The more than 10 million teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, parents and community leaders are clear. We must take action now to allow more time for the implementation of college- and career-ready standards. It is the only way we can ensure we get this right," LFA Executive Director Cheryl Scott Williams says. "Despite good intentions, educators and other voices represented by LFA have been largely left out of decisions around the implementation process, and decision-makers have largely avoided issues of curriculum and instruction to date. We must take the time to look to those states where implementation is going well, learn from their experiences, and ensure all children have access to the college- and career-ready learning they need and deserve."

To help identify and share the best and most promising practices on Common Core implementation, LFA has created a new website to serve as a home for success stories to help policymakers and educators properly implement the standards in classrooms and communities across the nation. Williams notes that California, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Massachusetts offer particular promise as models of successful Common Core implementation.

As states and districts focus on these important issues, LFA emphasizes that holding off on formal implementation should not turn back the focus on accountability at all levels of the learning process. "We urge a continued commitment to accountability. We recommend that states and districts continue to hold educators and schools to a high standard as determined by the components of their accountability systems that are not solely based on standardized tests, including other evidence of student learning, peer evaluations, school climate data and more," the LFA statement says. [Learning First Alliance]

April 9, 2014