Common Core Propagandists Are At It Again with Dizzying Spin

Jane Robbins, author

In the past, I’ve written about the disingenuous information routinely put out by the Collaborative for Student Success (CSS) to make the Common Core national standards look good. CSS is at it again.

CSS is a non-profit organization financed by the same groups that bankrolled the Common Core propaganda campaign — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, ExxonMobil, etc. In keeping with its raison d’etre of shilling for Common Core, CSS is trumpeting state test scores for 3rd-graders to prove that “higher standards [i.e., Common Core] are leading to better outcomes.” Not exactly!

The key point about CSS’s latest claim is that it focuses only on scores from the state Common Core-aligned tests. It doesn’t mention student performance on other tests not aligned to the national standards, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP — the “nation’s report card”). As Erin Tuttle explains, CSS has always claimed to be vigilant about exposing the “honesty gap,” defined as “the huge gaps that have existed between state NAEP scores and what states report as their proficiency rate.” But now CSS is engaging in the same dishonesty it supposedly condemns.

A quick glance at the 2015 NAEP scores of the nation’s high-school seniors suggests why CSS hides that piece of news. Those scores declined in math performance, stagnated in reading performance, and declined in college preparation in both areas. NAEP “college-readiness” scores declined as well. These scores came on the heels of similarly dismal 2015 NAEP results for younger students.

CSS spotlights two states, Delaware and New Mexico, which it says “have seen impressive student achievement gains this past year” on their state Common Core proficiency tests. Just to keep things honest, let’s look at those states’ 2015 NAEP scores.

Uh oh. Delaware’s 4th-grade reading and math NAEP scores declined from 2013 to 2015. New Mexico’s 4th-grade math scores declined, while reading increased one point but was still down five points from the peak score achieved in 2007 (before Common Core).

Maybe things were better in grade 8. But no — both states saw declines in both math and reading scores.

Written by Jane Robbins and published at American Principles Project ~ December 15, 2016.

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