2. Is the Common Core already being implemented?

All 50 states except Alaska and Texas initially committed to the development of common state standards when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officials launched their efforts to write the Common Core on June 1, 2009.1 At that time, individual states reserved the right to determine whether to formally adopt the finalized standards.

Forty-five states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards since their release on June 2, 2010. Minnesota adopted only the English language arts standards.2 All 45 states adopting both sets of standards became members of one or both of the consortia developing standardized assessments. These states thus committed to fully implement the standards and replace their state assessments with whatever tests the consortia produce.3 Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have refused to adopt the Common Core. The Texas legislature confirmed its unequivocal opposition by rejecting the standards on a 140–2 vote.4

Despite the states’ rapid adoption of the Common Core, implementing the standards in public schools has been gradual. A study conducted by two education policy firms found that in 2011, just seven of the 45 states that had adopted the Common Core had fully developed plans for implementing the standards. In 2012, only 14 more states had produced complete plans.5

Even though some states have not adopted the Common Core and many have been slow to implement its provisions, the Common Core is already impacting students across the country. The Common Core was consulted as a curriculum authority in the formulation of the National Sexuality Education Standards.6 In the name of the Common Core’s sophisticated writing expectations, a high school teacher in New York tasked her students with persuading her in five paragraphs or less that Jews are evil and that she should be loyal to the Third Reich.7

As the possibility of widespread impact becomes increasingly apparent and the pedagogical weakness of the standards is exposed, states that originally adopted the standards are scrambling to delay or defund implementation. It is also becoming clear that the predicted cost of implementing the Common Core is much higher than the amount of money the Department of Education used to persuade states to accept de facto national standards and assessments.8

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed a bill on May 8, 2013, that delays implementation until public hearings on the Common Core can be held.9 Pence also sent a letter to Partnership for Assessments of Readiness for College and Careers consortium, stating Indiana’s intent to withdraw from the consortium altogether.10 A similar bill was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives on August 28, 2013, although another, in Missouri, failed to pass.11 The Michigan legislature passed a budget bill cutting off funding for implementation of the Common Core on June 4, 2013. Although a resolution passed on October 28, 2013, reinstated the Common Core in Michigan, legislators in New York and Pennsylvania are also pushing such budget bills. (Similar legislation failed to pass in Alabama and Georgia.)12 Legislation was introduced in the Kansas legislature on February 11, 2013, to prevent the use of Common Core–related materials and assessments created in 2013 until the legislature can evaluate and approve them in 2014, but this bill failed to pass.13 Bills in Oklahoma and North Carolina would stall implementation until the cost of implementing the standards and their academic quality has been more thoroughly explored.14 A bill introduced in the Ohio General Assembly would prevent the state board of education from adopting the Common Core and the state department of education from implementing the standards.15A bill presented to the New Jersey Senate would create a task force to evaluate the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career assessments and prohibit use of the tests until the task force’s final report is submitted.16 Rhode Island is considering several bills to postpone Common Core, claiming it needs time to study and evaluate the standards.17 Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Utah have withdrawn from the state consortia developing assessments aligned to the Common Core standards.18

Document updated March 13, 2014

  1 “NGA and CCSSO Comment on CCSSI Governance Suggestions,” Common Core State Standards Initiative, accessed June 10, 2013, http://www.corestandards.org/articles/9-nga-and-ccsso-comment-on-ccssi-governance-suggestions.

  2 See “In the States,” Common Core Standards State Initiative, accessed June 8, 2013, http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states.

  3 Tabitha Grossman, Ryan Reyna, and Stephanie Shipton, Realizing the Potential: How Governors Can Lead Effective Implementation of the Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association, 2011), 10, accessed June 8, 2013, http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1110CCSSIIMPLEMENTATIONGUIDE.PDF.

  4 Shane Vander Hart, “Texas House Makes It Clear: No Common Core Here!” Truth in American Education (May 7, 2013), accessed June 8, 2013, http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/texas-house-makes-it-clear-no-common-core-here/.

  5 Education First and Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, A National Perspective on States’ Progress in Common Core State Standards Implementation Planning (2013), 6, http://www.edweek.org/media/movingforward_ef_epe_020413.pdf. Three key areas of implementation were considered in this study: teacher professional development, curriculum guides or instructional material, and teacher-evaluation system.

  6 Future of Sex Education Initiative, National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12(Future of Sex Education Initiative, 2012), 6, accessed August 16, 2013, http://www.ashaweb.org/files/public/sexuality%20education/josh-fose-standards.pdf.

  7 Scott Waldman, “School Apologizes for ‘Nazi’ Writing Assignment,” Times Union, April 12, 2013, accessed June 10, 2013, http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/School-apology-Think-like-a-Nazi-task-vs-Jews-4428669.php#photo-4458888.

  8 In Texas, Race to the Top funding would have amounted to about $75 per student. The cost of implementing the Common Core in Texas would be approximately $635 per student. See Rick Perry, Letter to the Honorable Arne Duncan, Office of the Governor, January 13, 2010, accessed June 10, 2013, http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf.

  9 Valerie Strauss, “Indiana Halts Common Core Implementation,” Washington Post, May 13, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/13/indiana-halts-common-core-implementation/.

10 “Gov. Pence Signals Intent to withdraw from Common Core Testing PARCC,” StateImpact Indiana, July 29, 2013, accessed March 1, 2014, http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/2013/07/29/gov-pence-signals-intent-to-withdraw-from-common-core-consortium-parcc/.

11 “HB 25,” Florida House of Representatives, 2013-14, accessed August 29, 2013, http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0025__.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0025&Session=2014; “Current Bill Summary: SB 210,” Missouri Senate, accessed October 4, 2013, http://www.senate.mo.gov/13info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=17430596.

12 Brian Smith, “Common Core Standards Funding Officially Blocked in New Michigan Budget after Senate Vote,” All Michigan, June 4, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2013/06/common_core_standards_funding.html; “97th Senate,” Michigan Journal of the Senate no. 87 (October 24, 2013): 1645-46; “Bill No. 7994,” State of New York Assembly, 2013–14, accessed July 10, 2013, http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld&bn=A07994&term=2013&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Text=Y&Votes=Y#jump_to_Votes; “Exit Strategy: State Lawmakers Consider Dropping Common Core,” Education Week, last modified October 3, 2013, accessed January 20, 2014, http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/anti-cc-bill.html; Joy Pullman, “Bill Would Withdraw Georgia from Common Core,” The Heartland Institute, February 15, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core.

  13 “HB 2289,” Kansas Legislature, July 11, 2013, accessed July 11, 2013, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2289/.

  14 “OK HB1907 | 2013 | Regular Session,” LegiScan, June 8, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://legiscan.com/OK/bill/HB1907/2013; Rachel Sheffield, “North Carolina Questions Common Core,” The Heartland Institute, April 26, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/04/26/north-carolina-questions-common-core.

  15 Ohio General Assembly, H.B. No. 237, 130th General Assembly, Regular Session, 2013-14, accessed August 20, 2013, http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB237.

  16 S2973, New Jersey 215th Legislature, Regular Session, 2013-14, accessed October 4, 2013, http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S3000/2973_I1.HTM.

  17 “30 States Wage War on ‘Obamacore,’” WND Education, March 2, 2014, accessed March 13, 2014, http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/30-states-wage-war-on-obama-initiative/.

  18 Evelyn B. Stacey, “Alabama Exits National Common Core Tests,” The Heartland Institute, February 13, 2013, accessed June 8, 2013, http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/13/alabama-exits-national-common-core-tests; Catherine Gewertz, “Alaska Withdraws from Smarter Balanced Testing Group,” Education Week, January 15, 2014, accessed March 1, 2014, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/01/alaska_withdraws_from_smarter_.html; “Governor Rick Scott Announces Path Forward for High Education Standards,” Rick Scott 45th Governor of Florida, September 23, 2013, accessed October 4, 2013, http://www.flgov.com/2013/09/23/governor-rick-scott-announces-path-forward-for-high-education-standards-decision-to-withdraw-from-parcc/; “Georgia Withdrawing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) Consortium,” July 22, 2013, accessed August 1, 2013, http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=123; Indiana Governor Mike Pence, “Governor Pence Announces Intent to Withdraw Indiana as a Member from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governing Board,” news release, July 29, 2013, accessed August 16, 2013,  http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=7/29/2013&todate=7/29/2013&display=Day&type=public&eventidn=115942&view=EventDetails&information_id=185774; Celia Llopis-Jepsen, “Kansas Opts to Create Its Own Common Core Tests,” Topeka Capital Journal, December 10, 2013, accessed December 13, 2013, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-12-10/kansas-opts-create-its-own-common-core-tests; Catherine Gewertz, “Kentucky Withdraws From PARCC Consortium,” Education Week, January 31, 2014, accessed March 1, 2014, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/01/kentucky_withdraws_from_parcc_.html; Andrea Eger, “Oklahoma to Drop Testing Consortium, Develop Own Tests, Barresi Says,”  Tulsa World, July 2, 2013, accessed July 10, 2013, http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Oklahoma_to_drop_testing_consortium_develop_own_tests/20130702_11_A1_CUTLIN399354; Catherine Gerwertz, “Pennsylvania Signals Departure From Consortia,” Education Week, June 24, 2013, accessed March 1, 2014, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/06/pennsylvania_signals_departure_from_test_consortia.html. “Utah Withdraws from Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Developing Common Core Tests,” Huffington Post, August 7, 2012, accessed June 8, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/utah-withdraws-from-smart_n_1752261.html.