Issues related to and surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are controversial and “toxic” (as Mike Huckabee put it) for many people both in and outside of education, including decision-makers. Rather than truly replacing the CCSS, some states have simply rebranded them. As a result, “College and Career Readiness Standards” and setting “higher” national standards are viewed as euphemisms for the CCSS. Rebranding has taken many forms, from simply changing the name to having committees review the standards, make minor, unsubstantial changes, add some front material, and possibly reformat their presentation.
For those familiar with pre-CCSS state math standards and who can compare them with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M), it can be seen the CCSS-M are uniquely written. Once familiar with this uniqueness, a person can usually determine if CCSS-M standards have been used as a base or model for a standards revision or rewrite.
Two states, Alabama and Florida, have been making noise about getting rid of the Common Core State Standards. Some headline terms used include repeal, end, ditch, eliminate, and scrap. As time goes on, more states will consider changing their standards. It will be interesting to see how they go about it and what the resulting product (set of standards) looks like.
Here are some possible scenarios of what states might do as they consider changing their CCSS-M standards. These are listed from worst to best case
- Adopt the Common Core State Standards as they are
- Rebrand the CCSS-M in name only
- Rebrand CCSS-M in name with minor changes*
- Rewrite standards using CCSS-M as the model**
- Rewrite standards using another state’s weak pre-CCSS standards as a model
- Rewrite standards using an A rated set of pre-CCSS standards as a model
- Adopt an A rated set of pre-CCSS standards (IN, CA, or even the unrated WEMS)
*changes some states made, even minor ones, significantly weakened their standards
**this results in standards that are basically CCSS with phrases that have been rewritten
I would recommend states work to avoid paths 1 though 5 and if possible and only accept paths 6 or 7.
Some states have expended a lot of resources on rebrands or rewrites that have resulted in adopting a set of standards that in essence are the CCSS (or worse). It doesn’t appear that any state completing a rebrand or rewrite has done anything that actually improved the CCSS.
One strategy that has been used in a few states is to have a survey set up for the public to provide specific input on the current standards, often standard by standard. This strategy will mostly result in a set a standards that closely resembles or is the same as the current standards. And if the current standards are the Common Core or a rebrand a brand makeover results. This strategy fits with path 4 where the standards are rewritten using the CCSS as a model.
Do states that make noise about the CCSS want to repeal, revise, replace, rebrand, or update their standards? Do they really want to have a better set of standards? Or do they just want to make noise having people think they are doing something that will result in a better set of standards when the real result will be little to no change or something worse?