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Despite clashing opinions on a group of controversial state standards, six Portland School Board members appeared united on at least one issue: They all had concerns about the rollout of new state exams aligned with the Common Core state standards.Washington's been condemned by its own Supreme Court for failing to adequately fund education. Is there any reason to expect things to go more smoothly here next fall, or is this an unfunded mandate?
When the school board traded opinions on the new standards on Monday, even the most supportive of the Common Core voiced worries about the tests aligned with the new learning requirements...
Melissa Goff, the executive director of the office of teaching and learning, admits the transition will be "rocky" because of limited resources, but says the main goal is to make sure that doesn't affect student learning.
Some critics, like board member Steve Buel, have railed generally against the standards, calling them detrimental to student learning. Others, like board member Ruth Adkins, support the Common Core, but worry teachers haven't gotten the proper support to deal with the new tests associated with the standards.
"No, we’re not ready," Seattle School Board Vice-President Betty Patu tells me by phone this morning. "I think every board director is worried, but I’m speaking for about four of us." That's a majority—there are seven board members. "We’ve discussed this, and it has been a concern. We want this to be successful, but the only way that will happen is if we have the tools in place and the funds...so [the teachers] can work the best they can with the kids so they can pass these tests."
"There is no funding for Common Core from the state," Patu says. "I think it should be delayed until we have funding." But she says the district can't make that decision without losing what little state funding it's currently receiving. Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction did not immediately respond to a request for comment.