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Sen. Howie Morales to introduce senate memorial to study Common Core standards

INTRODUCED BY Howie C. Morales


WHEREAS, in 2009 the Governor and Secretary of Public Education signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, along with other states, to develop common standards in language arts and mathematics for kindergarten through grade twelve; and

WHEREAS, the process to transition to the Common Core State Standards began in 2011 when the public education department formed a planning committee and framework development team to provide recommendations and draft a implementation plan; and

WHEREAS, the resulting plan called for implementation of the Common Core State Standards first in kindergarten through grade three during the 2012- 2013 school year and in grades four through twelve during the 2013-2014 school year; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the associated testing structure has become the overwhelming focus of student learning in our schools at the expense of essential learning opportunities in science, history, art, music, and other important subjects; and

WHEREAS, many educational experts report that the new Common Core State Standards robustly alter what our students are expected to learn and be able to do; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards are not designed to and do not provide better access to learning for a diverse population of students, including those living in poverty and those with limited English proficiency; and

WHEREAS, the new standards require a major retooling of classroom methodologies and pedagogy; and

WHEREAS, the voluminous Common Core State Standards, with the included appendices, comprise hundreds of pages of new information New Mexico teachers are now required to know and implement in their classrooms; and

WHEREAS, an astonishing amount of professional development is required in order for the standards to be successfully implemented; and

WHEREAS, several organizations have conducted analyses of the cost to implement the Common Core State Standards, which range from three to sixteen billion dollars; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico is a member of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, assessment consortium, which is funded by a federal Race to the Top Grant; and

WHEREAS, the PARCC assessment is scheduled to replace the New Mexico standards-based assessment in school year 2014-2015; and

WHEREAS, the PARCC assessment is computer-based, requiring New Mexico schools to acquire additional technology infrastructure in order to administer the PARCC exam; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico is being forced to spend millions of dollars in order to outfit schools with technology that meets the PARCC specifications; and

WHEREAS, even with the technology investments made by New Mexico, it is unclear whether all public schools will be ready to administer the PARCC exam and what level of additional funding will be required for those schools that do not meet PARCC specifications; and

WHEREAS, PARCC testing has been shown in other states such as New York and Kentucky to be misaligned, full of errors, and not indicative of the abilities of students or the effectiveness of teachers; and

WHEREAS, the results of the PARCC exam, end-of-course exams, discovery exams, Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, or
DIBELS measures, and other state-adopted testing do not take into account or control for poverty or diversity, and are therefore invalid measures of student achievement and teacher evaluation; and

WHEREAS, the numerous concerns with the Common Core State Standards have caused many to withdraw support for the standards, including the 600,000 educators represented by the New York state teacher’s union; and

WHEREAS, other state have withdrawn from the Common Core State Standards, citing that the effort to nationalize and centralize education through the standards results in the severe loss of state control of education; and

WHEREAS, officials in Florida, Indiana, and South Carolina have also voiced discontent with the cost of implementing the Common Core State Standards, with Florida ultimately rescinding its membership in the PARCC consortium; and

WHEREAS, the burden on our teachers and high cost of implementation merits an examination of the use of, and participation in, Common Core State Standards in New Mexico.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the State of New Mexico that the Legislative Education Study Committee be requested to examine the cost, benefits, disadvantages, and efficacy of New Mexico’s participation in the Common Core State Standards and PARCC and provide a report of its findings to the Legislature no later than November 1, 2014; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be distributed to the Governor and the Secretary of Public Education.

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