In the aftermath of yesterday’s caution delivered by education commissioner Tony Bennett that Florida needed to prepare itself for Plan B on implementation of Common Core Standards and it’s PARCC assessments, Jeb Bush’s education foundation acquiesced. From Mike Thomas in the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s blog:
(Tony) Bennett also is concerned about the ability of 22 states in the PARCC consortium to agree on common assessments and common cut scores. The range of states in PARCC goes from Massachusetts to Mississippi.
This is where the goal of rigor will clash with reality in classrooms.
Bennett apparently isn’t convinced it all will be worked out by 2014-15, which is Plan A.
Hence his call for Plan B, just in case.
And I guess the lesson to be learned by other states is this: Get your own Plan B in order.
That we have Common Core assessments up and running smoothly by, say, 2018 is more important than having them sputtering and crashing in 2015 because of a mad dash to the finish line.
Common Core presents one of those rare opportunities where we have political leaders, education leaders, teachers and reformers in something akin to alignment – if not on accountability provisions associated with Common Core, at least on the merits of the standards themselves. In Florida, 85 percent of teachers who attend training sessions like what they are being trained to do.
And that is to teach critical thinking skills and more in-depth knowledge.
Let us cling to this moment.
Implementation issues must be managed so Common Core critics don’t parlay them into deal-killing issues. If so, we’ll never get to 2018.
Thomas’ assertion of the existence 85 percent of teacher’s support is misleading. The support is for Common Core and not the massive testing regime that will come with PARCC. His admission that “Bennett also is concerned about the ability of 22 states in the PARCC consortium to agree on common assessments,” reveals that it’s ultimately about Pearson’s tests again. This new sausage making doesn’t even take into account that the Carnival Cruise of an accountability system Florida has now is making politicians use words like “implode.”