This is ironic. Michigan wants to drop the Common Core standards and substitute the Massachusetts standards that were dropped by Massachusetts to make way for the Common Core standards!

 

A bill is moving through the Michigan legislature to do exactly that. Michigan has had a groundswell of opposition to the Common Core standards, like most other states. Their solution is to take the standards of the nation’s highest performing state, Massachusetts, and make them specific to Michigan.

 

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, those standards were jettisoned because the state won a Race to the Top Grant and agreed to adopt the Commin Core.  As it happens, the Massachusetts state Commissioner of Education is Mitchell Chester, who was until recently, the chair of the PARCC testing consortium. So naturally he wanted his state to drop the MCAS and use PARCC.

 

When PARCC started, underwritten by the US Department of Education, 24 states and DC joined its consortium. Now it is down to 6 states and DC. Massachusetts is using a hybrid: part PARCC and part MCAS.

 

What a fine mess!

 

When will states figure out that an effective reform strategy is far more complicated than standards, testing, and accountability. When Massachusetts adopted its standards, it invested new resources and  increased equitable spending. It expanded pre-k and raised standards for new teachers.

 

There is still much to be done in Massachusetts. But it is important to remember that it achieved good results by sensible improvements in schools, not by closing schools, firing teachers and principals or mass privatization (until recently, Massachusetts had only 25 charter schools in the state).