This story has been updated to reflect that Maine incorporated the Common Core into its already-existing “Maine Learning Results” instead of adopting a new name for the standards.
As the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different.
A new survey by the Education Commission of the States, a non-partisan organization that tracks education policy, shows that many states have ditched the “Common Core” name but have kept the standards and slapped on a new moniker that doesn’t carry as much political freight.
Nineteen states have come up with a new name that includes anything but “Common” or “Core.” There’s the “Wyoming Content and Performance Standards.” Or “Ohio’s New Learning Standards.” Maine chose not to change the name of its standards, instead folding the Common Core into its existing “Maine Learning Results.”
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have fully adopted the Common Core State Standards, which spell out the skills and knowledge in math and reading that students should possess from grades K through 12. Four states – Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia – never adopted the Common Core. Minnesota adopted the reading standards only.
Two states — Indiana and Oklahoma — passed laws to pull out of the Common Core, and four more might repeal the standards: Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.
The standards, created in 2010 by a bipartisan group of governors and state school officials with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are designed to inject some consistency in academic standards, which have varied wildly from state to state.
The standards are not curriculum. Decisions about exactly what is taught and how are left to individual states and school districts.
The Obama administration has been a strong supporter of the standards, offering incentives to states that adopted them. That has led to complaints, especially from Republican governors, that the federal government coerced states to adopt the Common Core.
As the Core standards have been rolled out in classrooms across the country, they have been attacked by critics on the right as federal overreach, and on the left, by progressives uncomfortable with the role of the Gates foundation and new tests associated with the standards.
Support among educators is mixed, but unions have been particularly concerned about new evaluation systems in most states that call for teachers to be evaluated in part on how well their students perform on new Common Core tests. The unions have been pushing for a pause in consequences attached to the new tests. The Obama administration has said it will consider requests from states that want a one-year delay in decisions about personnel or students based on the new tests.
In the past year, nine governors have signed executive orders relating to the Common Core, according to the Education Commission of the States. In most cases, governors re-asserted their state’s right to make decisions about K-12 education. In the case of Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), signed an executive order to try to pull Louisiana out of the Common Core, but his state board of education and superintendent of instruction have refused and are fighting it out in the courts.