State Lawmakers Face Tough Choices On Common Core

Career College Central summary:

  • State legislators begin their 2014 sessions this month grappling with the best way forward on the Common Core State Standards in a tricky political climate, with a majority of governors and lawmakers up for election in the fall. For many states, this year will be a key juncture for decisions about the standards—and related exams—before their full weight is felt in classrooms, district offices, and state education departments in the 2014-15 school year.
  • Many lawmakers will be working to help ensure that state accountability and assessment systems lead to students who are better prepared for study and work after high school. But the large slate of elections this year, including gubernatorial contests in 36 states and legislative races in 46, could tamp down many lawmakers' enthusiasm for bold policy proposals. On such issues as the common core and teacher evaluations, many might choose a cautious approach, said Iris Maria Chavez, the assistant field director for the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group.
  • The common core won't take up all the oxygen in statehouses. As the general fiscal environment for states continues its slow improvement, several states could boost their general funding for education or target more specific, high-profile policies. All but four states (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas) will have legislatures in session in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state with the earliest starting date for its session is Massachusetts; its lawmakers officially got underway Jan. 2.

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