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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WTM: WA legislators should vote against CCSS adoption

(Note from Laurie Rogers: The following is a statement from Where's the Math? a mathematics advocacy group in Washington State. The complete statement has been reproduced here with permission from the WTM executive committee. For more -- including comparisons between the common core mathematics standards and Washington State's current mathematics standards -- see the WTM Web site at


Where’s the Math?
Washington State Legislature Should Vote Against Adoption
of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
October 12, 2010

During the upcoming legislative session, Washington State must decide whether to replace our State’s recently improved math standards with a new and evolving set of national education guidelines, the Common Core State Standards. Over the past five years, Where’s The Math? (WTM) has advocated for rigorous, coherent, and internationally competitive mathematics education for all Washington students. WTM has carefully compared the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) against the mathematics standards Washington State adopted in 2008. The CCSS for mathematics possess significant weaknesses and are not ready for adoption in Washington State or nationwide.

Where’s the Math? urges the WA State Legislature to NOT ADOPT the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, based on a number of concerns:

  • The CCSS have major weaknesses compared to existing Washington State math standards. Reviews of both standards by the Fordham Foundation and WTM have noted the superior clarity and organization of the current Washington standards. The CCSS delays teaching important mathematics skills. Throwing out current state standards in favor of the CCSS would waste an investment of tens of millions of dollars in curricula, training, and assessment.
  • There is no funding for the adoption of the CCSS in Washington State. Washington is unlikely to receive any near-term funding through Race to the Top grants, and any awards received would only cover a small portion of adoption costs. The costly implementation of these standards must be absorbed by the state and cash-strapped districts.
  • Adopting the CCSS takes control of standards away from Washington State. The CCSS was produced by a closed group, and conditionally approved by many states without review. States have been pressured with financial incentives and no consideration for possible consequences of nationwide adoption prior to rigorous evaluation in actual classrooms. The limited local discretion permitted by the CCSS process (15%), and the necessity for states to pay for any additional assessments, make significant local enhancements to the CCSS impractical.
  • The CCSS represents an unevaluated work-in-process. The CCSS is untested and unevaluated in the classroom. A proposed national standard should undergo rigorous testing in a limited number of districts or states before it is adopted nationally. Furthermore, an associated assessment exam has not been created. Clearly, there should be no commitment to the CCSS until it is thoroughly reviewed and tested, and an assessment exam is completed and evaluated.

WTM recommends:

  • The WA Legislature should vote against adoption of the CCSS. The legislature should introduce and pass a bill during the 2010-11 session refusing the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.
  • Washington State should remain engaged in the CCSS process at the national level, including making recommendations for improvements in the standards and their assessment. This process should be modified to give states the latitude to use the CCSS to improve existing standards rather than requiring that the CCSS be adopted in their entirety.
  • The WA Legislature should encourage public input. Any future consideration of the CCSS should be open to public scrutiny and comment. The legislature should establish multiple opportunities for community members to interact with local and state officials in public forums where their questions and concerns can be aired and addressed.
There is little to gain from the adoption of untested national standards, and potentially much to lose.

Where’s The Math? (WTM) is a statewide math advocacy group comprised of concerned citizens seeking a balanced and rigorous mathematics education for Washington’s kids. Our mission is to ensure that all Washington State students have an equal opportunity to compete successfully in the international economy by aligning our state math standards, assessments and curricula to those of top performing nations in the world. WTM chapters are organized across the state, with members volunteering in schools, on local PTAs, as elected school board directors, and lobbying elected officials to make Washington State the mathematics role model for the country. Visit for more information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For more information visit:

Washington State & the Common Core State Standards