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The Oregonian’s One-Sided ‘Debate’ on Common Core-Aligned Tests

Oregonian’s Laura Frazier recently reported on (compiled, really) a roundup of education headlines regarding new tests linked to the Common Core State Standards. Aside from the obvious issue of conflating all new tests aligned to the Common Core (and yes, there’s more than one—as many as four new tests are being administered this spring) and blurring the lines between commentary and newspaper reporting, Frazier fails to report (or in this case, find and summarize links) from both sides of the debate and instead casts a biased and indulgent perspective of the opt-out debate and new assessments.
Tests linked to new Common Core State Standards made headlines across the nation last week. Starting this spring students will take new and more rigorous exams aligned with Common Core State Standards, adopted by Oregon in 2010. The exams have sparked a debate about standardized testing and parent's right to opt their student out. Here are a few headlines we found: Looks like you missed a lot of stories about the new tests that would balance out the piece. Here are a some headlines you missed… New Common Core tests will test skills and reasoning, not memorization Ohio educators talk about an improved assessment, pointing out that the PARCC test actually tests a student’s ability to apply knowledge, rather than just rote memorization and bubble-filling. Deborah Gist: R.I. is ready for PARCC assessments Rhode Island’s chief of schools sums it up: “PARCC assessments are designed to measure whether students have attained proficiency on the Common Core State Standards, which Rhode Island adopted more than four years ago. Thousands of educators have participated in professional development preparing them for transition to the Common Core. We are now in the third year of full implementation of the Common Core in all of our schools. Clearly, our teachers and students should be—and are—ready for PARCC assessments.” Suburbia and Its Common Core Conspiracy Theories In The Atlantic, a journalist (and mom) takes the time to debunk several Common Core conspiracy theories and address the alarmist tendencies of social media. Opting Out of PARCC and Common Core Standards Is a Dangerous Concept A superintendent of a New Jersey district explores the risks in opting-out of Common Core and its aligned assessments, including setting a bad precedent for future opt-outs. N.J. PTA, principals launch PARCC website to answer questions This story in True Jersey explores a website created to provide answers to common questions and identifies the best ways to support students as they take PARCC. An open letter to parents on PARCC A letter from New Jersey Commissioner of Education David Hespe who wants to dispel myths and explain the many benefits PARCC has for students, families, and schools. Groups Battle Over Student Testing in New Jersey From this Wall Street Journal article: “Good instruction leads to good test results,” said Superintendent Stephen Cochrane. “We don’t emphasize test prep. We emphasize critical thinking and good writing, and that leads to good results on PARCC or any assessment.” Carolyn Radler, a mother of three in Wayne, welcomed the new regimen. “It will give you more information on the growth of your child, which is very important,” she said. Parsippany schools superintendent speaks about PARCC concerns Yet another New Jersey superintendent dispels rumors around the new test, declaring: “Frankly, I think it will be the best thing for the kids.” Take testing to heart—it’s a key to student success This Washington state superintendent gives background on Smarter Balanced, its role in her district, and how it will benefit her students. The PARCC test / Relax, folks An Atlantic City newspaper editorial compares hysteria around testing to the anti-vaccination movement and describes the thoughtfulness that has gone into implementing the assessment.

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