A School Committee member is among a group of Barrington residents who want to slow down or halt the implementation of the Common Core educational standards in Rhode Island – one of 46 states and the District of Columbia that are implementing them.
“We’re a nation of guinea pigs,” said school board member Scott Fuller, an assistant principal and former math teacher at Cumberland High School, at a recent Barrington School Committee meeting.
His own research, said Fuller at that meeting, shows that there have been no field tests and no evidence that Common Core works.
“It has not been tried on students, at a school, in a district or a state,” Fuller said, “and with no local input. It’s been put in place with no or little public comment. Nobody knows if it will work.”
Fuller said his personal research also questions whether the Common Core will widen the achievement gaps between the haves and the have-nots.
Fuller also said most recently in a Providence Journal story about the local group trying to halt Common Core that he is concerned that the new standards are being implemented way too fast and without field-testing or being benchmarked against international standards.
“I don’t think this is the way democracy works,” he said.
Fuller also has said that he has concerns about the cost of implementing the standards, which includes the cost of replacing the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) with PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).
Fuller said that it is probably too late to stop the implementation. But he would like to, at least, take a thoughtful pause to allow local educators and parents the opportunity to evaluate the standards.
Common Core was developed with significant support from corporations, the National Governors Association, national education leaders and the College Board with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is described as a set of expectations about what students should know at various grade levels so they don’t fall further behind international students. It lets individual school districts develop their own curricula to meet those standards, said Paula Dillon, director of curriculum for Barrington schools.