State Membership in Common Core Test Consortia Down By 62 Percent

Membership in the two federally funded multi-state test consortia tasked with designing assessments aligned with the Common Core standards has dropped 62 percent since 2011.

In 2010, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) indicated they had gathered 26 and 32 member states, respectively. But, by the start of 2016, 38 states had left one or both consortia, reports pro-Common Core Education Next.

According to the report:

State participation in the consortia declined just as implementation of the new standards and tests was set to begin. The pace of withdrawals quickened over time, particularly for PARCC, which five or six states left every year between 2013 and 2015. As of May 2016, just six states planned to implement the PARCC-designed assessment in the 2016-17 academic year. SBAC also faced attrition but fared better and still retains 14 states that plan to use the full test…

Only three states have officially repealed the Common Core standards, though at least two – Indiana and South Carolina – simply “rebranded” the standards, or – save for a few tweaks – essentially gave the same standards a different name, a step opposed by grassroots groups of parents.

These grassroots groups have struggled to truly revoke the Common Core standards in their states, having been up against business and industry groups – especially the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – and status-quo politicians at both the state and federal levels who rely on these groups for campaign contributions. In addition, already purchased textbook and online digital learning materials that had products aligned with Common Core created further cause for resistance to truly changing the standards for officials who wanted to fend off expenses for new curriculum materials.

Parents, however, have been most able to flex their muscles in opting out their children from the Common Core-aligned tests. Teachers, too, opposed their evaluations tied to students’ performance on the assessments. Concerns about federal control of education, too many high-stakes tests, and the data-mining of children’s private information have prevailed and resulted in the significant decline in state membership to the test consortia.

Education Next admits that the Common Core standards reform received “support from the wrong places.” The pro-Common Core report states:

The Common Core standards and their aligned assessments drew many supporters from the federal and state governments, from the philanthropic community, and from reform advocates, but most members of these groups do not have a personal stake—a vested interest—in what happens in schools at the ground level. Therefore, their support alone is not enough to sustain education reform over time. Federal and state policymakers sometimes embrace high standards and quality assessments in principle, but when they experience intense pressure from interest groups and the public, their support is likely to falter.

Indeed, the state boards of education, many of them unelected, that signed onto the unproven Common Core standards did so with little, if any, public or media scrutiny, prior to even seeing the standards themselves.

The Common Core standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and none of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students, or taxpayers.

There is also no official information about who selected the individuals to write the Common Core standards. None of the writers of the math and English Language Arts standards have ever taught math, English, or reading at the K-12 level.

“They did not reach out to parents, teachers and state lawmakers,” Shane Vander Hart notes at Truth in American Education. “This was done intentionally however because there is no way they would have gotten as many states to sign on with the standards and assessment consortia if they went about adoption in a public and transparent way.”


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