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Common-Core News Developments Dominate Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

The first time I wrote about pushback to the Common Core State Standards in a comprehensive way was in February 2013. That pushback picked up steam in 2014, a year characterized by intense discussion about the progress and worthiness of the standards in states. 

That focus on common-core issues is reflected in the most-viewed blog posts on State EdWatch during 2014. Among the posts you'll see below, all but three deal with the common core or with common-core testing. In terms of entries related to the standards, Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have starring roles in the most popular blog posts, and Kentucky and New York also make an appearance. Among the three posts not dealing with the common core, two deal with StudentsFirst, the advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee, and one is an entry on K-12 ballot initiatives kindly written by my colleague Alyson Klein.

Let's take a look at the most-viewed list for State EdWatch this year. I've included a passage from each entry that highlights the gist of the story:

1. Third-Year Scores from Common-Core Tests Released by Kentucky

Kentucky has released scores from last year's reading and math assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The 2013-14 school year was the third year the Bluegrass State has assessed students on tests, called K-PREP, that are aligned to the common standards. So what are the results? The short answer is that elementary school students showed the highest rate of improvement in both reading and math, followed by middle school students.

2. S.C. Governor Signs Bill Requiring State to Repeal Common Core

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has signed a bill that requires the state to adopt new content standards for the 2015-16 school year and drop the Common Core State Standards. In effect, this means that South Carolina has become the second state to drop the common standards, although the actual replacement of common core with "new" standards won't take place until the 2015-16 year.

3. Florida Picks Common-Core Test from AIR, Not PARCC

It's official. Florida is not going to use the common-core exam developed by the PARCC testing consortium. Instead, Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has selected an assessment developed by the American Institutes for Research as its new state test.

4. Key Education Measures on State Ballots

Voters in at least 11 states had the opportunity to decide on ballot measures with major implications for education funding and policy.

5. South Carolina Gov. Haley Vows State Will Ditch Common Core

In a clear signal that the Common Core State Standards are in hot water in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley told a meeting of a local Republican Party women's club that she was determined to ditch the standards this year because, she said, "We don't ever want to educate South Carolina children like they educate California children."

6. On Michelle Rhee's Latest State-Policy Report Card, No 'A' Grades Once Again

No state received an A grade on this latest report, StudentsFirst's second, just like in 2013. The only two states to receive B grades last year, Florida and Louisiana, once again are the only two states this year to get Bs (actually a B- for both states).  But what's also striking about the list is that no state's overall grade dropped. 

7. Okla. Gov. Fallin Signs Bill to Replace Common Core With New Standards

Five months after coming to the defense of the Common Core State Standards, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill to replace them.

8. Mixed Bag for N.Y. Students on Second Year of Common-Core Tests

New York state students in grades 3-8 improved their performance in math in their second year of taking tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards, according to results released Thursday. But their performance in English/language arts was virtually flat, and significant achievement gaps between racial and economic subgroups persisted.

9. Indiana Finally OKs Standards to Replace Common-Core Adoption

Clinching the end of a long policy and political saga, the Indiana State Board of Education voted April 28 to adopt new standards in English/language arts and math to replace the state's 2010 adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

10. South Carolina Withdrawing From Smarter Balanced Testing Consortium

In an April 3 letter to school districts in the state, Deputy Superintendent Nancy Busbee announced that South Carolina will be leaving Smarter Balanced, and that the move "will allow South Carolina to also consider other assessments that best meet the needs of our state."

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