Bob Dean

Urgent! Tell your Legislators to vote No on HB1443


Call the legislative Hot Line

1-800-562-6000
Tell your legislators to vote against HB1443


Vote Against Common Core State Standards


Block the Permanent Adoption of the Common Core State Standards
in Washington State

What Are They? The Common Core State Standards are known by the acronym CCSS. These are national learning standards organized by the NGA and the CCSSO in an effort to replace the standards developed by individual states.

Why Should You be Against Them?

Expensive: Adoption of the CCSS will cost the state of Washington and local school districts tens of millions of dollars to effectively implement them at a time when we are forced to cut vital programs to the bone. (See details below)

Unnecessary: The state of Washington just adopted new math standards in 2008. Our new standards are rated higher than the CCSS. (See details below)

Untested: The CCSS are untested and unproven, with no student data to support them. (See details below)

Continued Chaos: Washington students can’t be expected to meet mathematics graduation requirements when the legislature keeps changing the target. (See details below)

Loss of local input and control: Adoption of the CCSS will affectively remove the education decision-making process from Washington citizens and give it to unknowns in Washington DC. (See details below)

Key Actions

  1. Last year’s SB6696 requires a “legislative review” of the Common Core State Standards before they can be fully adopted. (The CCSS were provisionally adopted last year by Superintendent Dorn before any public input)

  2. Legislators must 1) vote no to HB1443, and 2) prepare a bill this session to delay or block the permanent adoption of the CCSS.

Expensive

In a time of tightened budgets, the CCSS will cost the state and districts a great deal of money. More than $100 million was spent by the state of Washington implementing our current math standards and assessments. School districts around the state have purchased new curricula based on the standards we just adopted in 2008 and this curriculum will have to be greatly supplemented or totally replaced to effectively teach the Common Core Standards.

The CCSS are much more complex than our existing standards and besides costing more to properly implement they will require ongoing professional development for all teachers k-12. OSPI is trying to begin implementation of these standards by requesting only $2.1 million. This is just the tip of the iceberg and legislators should not be fooled into believing the CCSS standards can be properly implemented without expending much more than the previous standards.

It is irresponsible for the legislature to change the standards again so soon after going through a standards change. School districts that have purchased new curriculum based on our recently adopted standards are going to be left holding the bag. Their new curriculum will not align well with the CCSS and they will either have to abandon it or spend additional funds to supplement what they have now. The results will leave students with mediocre curriculum at best.

Unnecessary

The current Washington standards were adopted in 2008 and were recently given an “A” rating by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Fordham rated our standards slightly higher than the CCSS. Our current standards were created by Washington State citizens to be rigorous and at the same time clear and understandable to all stakeholders including parents and students. This is in stark contrast to the CCSS which contain many standards written in a cryptic mathematical style that will make them all but useless to many.

Since 2008 the state has put a large investment into our current standards and assessments which will all be lost by changing standards again. There is absolutely no justification for throwing this money away by making another change at this time.

Untested

The CCSS are untested and unproven, with no student data to support them. Our children and our teachers are the subjects of this new, national education experiment yet they have had little or no input in the decision.

Wild claims have been made about the benefits of the CCSS but there is absolutely no evidence that any of it is true. One constant claim is that having national standards will allow students to move from one state to another with a minimum of interruption in their education. This is far from the truth. Standards are targets not prescribed lessons or course descriptions. Even though Washington State has had common standards for more than a decade students moving from one district to another find large variances.

Good standards are user friendly to all stakeholders. The CCSS are not well written and they are far from user friendly. Parents, students, and even many teachers, especially at the K-8 level, will not understand them or be able to use them effectively. Consider this 5th grade CCS standard:

Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.)

The CCSS are full of encrypted standards like the one above. Standards like this will be all but unusable by 5th grade students and teachers. One has to ask the question if those who support the CCSS have ever read them?

Continued Chaos

The WASL was a disaster because it tried to measure vague and poorly written standards. It took citizens and the legislature to force OSPI, which was under the direction of Terry Bergeson, to write new and highly rated math standards. The change to new standards was chaotic because while the new standards were adopted in 2008, the 2009 WASL and the 2010 HSPE were on the old standards. This is one of the main reasons why there were no gains on the last two state tests. Even so, these poor testing results had real consequences because some schools did not meet AYP under the NCLB and suffered consequences that led to major upheaval including job losses for principals and the uprooting of teachers and students. By changing to new standards again we will be creating the same testing disaster. Why is there no legislative accountability?

The class of 2013 is being told they have to pass the HSPE to graduate but those standards will be abandoned in favor of the CCSS and new and yet uncreated assessments. The result will be more years of chaos with students and teachers trying to adjust to hitting a moving target. There is no doubt that this will cause the legislature to have to suspend mathematics graduation requirements further into the future and it will be because of the legislatures own confusing actions.

Loss of local Control

The Washington state constitution states that the education of our children is the paramount duty of the state. Washington citizens have proven that they can design mathematics standards as good as anyone in the country. Why should the teachers, parents and citizens of Washington be asked to give up their right to educate their children as they see fit?

When Washingtonians saw there was a problem with the state math standards and assessments they took action and sought legislative relief. Where will Washington citizens turn if they are not satisfied with the CCSS and the assessments that aren’t even created yet?

Conclusion

There is simply no justification for making another change in the Washington state math standards at this time. There are no proven benefits to the citizens of Washington by changing to the Common Core State Standards and there are many harmful consequences in both the costs and the ensuing educational chaos that will result.

The Governor and the legislators of the state of Washington have a direct responsibility to the people of this state. That responsibility comes in front of any agreements with the National Governors Association (NGA) or the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) or any other outside agency. It is not in the best interests of the children and the citizens of Washington to adopt the Common Core State Standards at this time and it would be an irresponsible government that would ignore the exceptional work of its own citizens in favor of claimed benefits that have not one shred of substantiated data behind them.

Bob Dean

Math Teacher Singer/songwriter

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