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Common Core Symposium Agenda for August 7, 2012


Common Core State Standards and
Utah’s Common Core
Hosted by Rep. Kraig Powell
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Rocky Mountain Middle School
Heber City, Utah

9:00 a.m.

I. Origin of the Common Core State Standards

What motivated the formulation of the standards?
What are the standards trying to accomplish?
What was lacking in standards in U.S. and Utah that needed to be improved?
Why did Utah agree to pursue CCSS?
Why did Utah vote to adopt the published CCSS?

Who originated the idea for the new standards?
Who is CCSSO?
Who is NGA?
Who is the “advisory group” referred to on page 1 of the ELA CCSS?
Who are the “writers of the standards” referred to on page 1 of the ELA CCSS?
Who is Achieve, Inc. and what is its role in the CCSS?
Who are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private organizations and what is their role in development of the CCSS?
Who is David Coleman and the GROW network?
Who are the officials with the federal USDOE who have been involved in formulating, advocating or encouraging adoption of the CCSS?
Who in the Utah education community helped draft and review the standards?
Who in Utah government approved and adopted the standards?

When was the decision made by CCSSO and NGA to create the standards?
When did work begin on the standards?
When were the standards first made available for review in draft form?
When were the final standards released?
When did USBE first review drafts of the standards?
When did USBE first review the proposed final standards?
For how long did USOE and USBE review the proposed standards?
When did USBE officially vote to adopt the standards?
When did CCSS begin to be used in Utah classrooms?
When will implementation of CCSS in Utah classrooms be complete?

How were the CCSS created and produced by the CCSSO and NGA?
How were meetings called and conducted by the CCSSO and NGA?
How did Utah officials participate in drafting of CCSS?
How was Utah feedback solicited by, given to and received by the authors of the standards?
How were local school district officials in Utah involved when the standards were being adopted in Utah?
How was the public involved in Utah when the standards were adopted in Utah?
How was the Utah Legislature informed of consideration and adoption of the CCSS by Utah officials?

Where were the CCSS developed?
Where were meetings held to discuss CCSS?
Which states have adopted the CCSS?

10:00 a.m.

II. Federal Involvement, State Flexibility and Local Adaptation

Federal vs. State Involvement
–What was the role of USDOE in formulating the standards?
–What is the role of USDOE in administering the standards?
–Does the CCSS Initiative violate constitutional and statutory provisions prohibiting federal formulating of curriculum?
–Are there federal statutes, requirements or rules that govern CCSS?
–Do any federal statutes or rules require Utah’s participation in CCSS?
–Would there be any federal legal consequences if Utah stopped using CCSS?
–How do other states affect or control Utah’s use of CCSS?
–How do private organizations affect or control Utah’s use of CCSS?
–Who owns the copyright on the CCSS?
–How did the CCSS become the “Utah Common Core”?
–How is the Utah Common Core different than the CCSS?

Race to the Top
–How is Race to the Top related to the CCSS?
–What was Utah’s involvement in RTTT?
–Was Utah required to participate in RTTT?
–Who decided if Utah would participate in RTTT?
–Did Utah win RTTT?
–Is Utah bound today in any way to RTTT?

No Child Left Behind
–What does NCLB require states to do?
–What does NCLB offer to states?
–What is the status or phasing of NCLB, in Utah and nationwide, as of today?
–What is a NCLB waiver?
–When were NCLB waivers first offered?
–Do NCLB waivers violate federal constitutional or statutory law?
–Who decided that Utah would seek a NCLB waiver?
–When did Utah decide to seek a NCLB waiver?
–What were the requirements to receive a NCLB waiver?
–Was there another route to receive a NCLB waiver besides adopting CCSS?
–What are the main requirements of Utah’s NCLB waiver?
–Is Utah required to adopt and use CCSS to maintain its NCLB waiver?
–What would be the consequences for NCLB of Utah dropping CCSS?
–How do we prove to USDOE that Utah is satisfying NCLB waiver criteria such as CCSS?

Modifications to the Standards
–Are the CCSS monolithic and uniform in all states?
–Can Utah change the standards?
–If Utah changes the standards, will that jeopardize any federal programs or funding to which Utah is subject?
–If Utah can change the standards, how is that done and what does that process look like?
–Is there a requirement that Utah change no more than 15 percent of the standards? Who imposed this requirement?
–Why would Utah want to change the standards?
–Can a local school district in Utah change the standards for its district only?
–Can an individual school within a district change the standards for its school?
–Can a teacher change the standards for his or her own classes?
–How do CCSS apply to charter schools?
–Why didn’t Utah just develop its own standards?
–Does the uniformity of the CCSS stifle the states’ usefulness as laboratories of experimentation?
–Wouldn’t a state be better served by going through the work of creating its own standards using examples from other states and model standards from private and non-profit groups?
–Is there a danger that the CCSS will contain aspects objectionable to Utah’s culture and values?
–Can Utah legally stop using CCSS at any time? Is this desirable?

11:00 a.m.

IV. Assessments and Smarter Balanced Consortium

–How did standardized assessment effort begin?
–Who called for the common assessment approach?
–Who coordinated its formulation?
–What was federal government’s role, if any, in developing the assessments?
– What was federal government’s role, if any, in encouraging adoption of the assessments?
–How did Utah join the effort?
–Who in Utah made the decision to join the effort?
–When was this decision made?
–Did Utah sign contracts to join the consortium? Who signed the contracts and when?
–How have Utah officials been involved in development of the standardized assessment effort?
–Who creates the assessments?
–Where and how are the assessments being written?

–How will the tests be used in Utah schools? Who dictates this?
–In which grades will the tests be used? Who dictates this?
–Are the tests designed for everyday use or just as an annual or semiannual competency measure?
–How are the tests different than assessments that Utah has previously been using?
–Do the tests require students to be at computers?
–Are the tests online?
–Are the tests adaptive? What does this mean?
–What are the advantages and disadvantages of adaptive tests?
–Will all schools in all states in the consortium use the same tests?
–Can Utah change the content of the tests?
–Will all districts and all schools in Utah use the same tests?
–Will teachers teach to the tests? Is this a good or bad phenomenon?

Relationship to Common Core
–What is the relationship between the assessments and CCSS?
–Is the content of the tests based on material in CCSS?
–Will the tests measure progress or mastery of CCSS?
–Can Utah change the nature or content of the assessments?

Legal Issues
–Do federal statutes or rules require Utah’s use of the assessments?
–Does use of the assessments qualify Utah for federal funds that we would not otherwise receive?
–What is Utah’s role and status in SBAC?
–Did Utah recently change its status in SBAC? If so, why?
–What significance is there to Utah’s status in SBAC?
–What is Utah’s ongoing role in SBAC?
–Can Utah stop using the SBAC tests at any time?
–Can Utah withdraw from SBAC?
–What would be the process for Utah to withdraw from SBAC?
–Who must give permission for Utah to withdraw from SBAC?
–Why would Utah want to withdraw from SBAC?

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m.

VI. Principles and Concepts of the Common Core Standards

Quality of the Standards
–Are the standards better or worse than what many states were previously using?
–Are the standards better or worse than what Utah was previously using?
–How can we judge the quality of the CCSS?
–Will we be able to evaluate the quality of the standards by student performance on tests?
–How have teachers implementing UCC reacted to the standards so far?
–How have students being taught according to UCC, and their parents, reacted so far to the standards?

–Will CCSS inhibit students’ individuality?
–Shouldn’t teachers tailor education to each individual child rather than work from common standards?
–Will the specifically-prescribed substance and timing of the CCSS prevent individualized adaptation for each child?

Gifted Students
–Will common standards stifle achievement of students who have high academic potential and hold them back?
–Will teachers under CCSS be forced to teach to the lowest common denominator and neglect high-performing students?
–Will use of the CCSS mean elimination of gifted and talented programs in schools?
–Does “common” mean “average” and not “excellent”?

Challenged Students
–Are the standards too difficult for academically-challenged students to meet?
–Will the CCSS prevent teachers from addressing individual needs of underperforming students?

2:00 p.m.

III. Common Core at the Classroom Level

Application of CCSS in Classrooms
–How does the adoption of CCSS affect classroom teaching in a practical sense?
–Will students know they are being taught based on CCSS or have any familiarity with the standards? Is this necessary or desirable?
–How does a teacher translate CCSS into instruction that is given to students?
–Are specific units, chapters or sections of a course based on specific CCSS standards?
–Does CCSS prescribe curriculum to be taught?
–What is the difference between standards and curriculum?
–How are teachers trained to use CCSS?
–Will transition to CCSS be difficult for experienced teachers who have established their own teaching methods?
–Are colleges in Utah now training future teachers in CCSS?
–How will teachers be held accountable to use CCSS?
–How will administrators know if teachers are even using CCSS?
–How will effectiveness of teachers at using CCSS be measured?

–Is the CCSS approach a new way of teaching math?
–Is this way of teaching math controversial?
–Is the schedule for math progression slower than what we have used in the past?
–Under CCSS, is Algebra I postponed until grade 9 instead of grade 8?
–Under CCSS, will students be able to take calculus in high school?
–Does CCSS math instruction omit or ignore important geometric principles regarding triangles?
–How are traditional math classes or categories changed under CCSS?
–Will parents have difficulty helping with homework due to new math approaches under CCSS?
–Will experienced math teachers resist the new approaches?
–Is this a math approach that is followed by other countries?
–Is this math approach considered more difficult or rigorous than traditional approaches?
–What is the unique math instruction system that Utah and very few other states adopted as part of this change? Is it part of CCSS? Is it one option within CCSS?
–Shouldn’t it be fairly easy to identify core standards for an objective discipline like math?

–Does CCSS call for less emphasis on literary texts than we have been employing previously?
–Why should informational texts be emphasized more than literary texts?
–How much will English and language arts instruction involve literature under CCSS?
–Will CCSS involve exposure to writings which may be objectionable to Utah’s culture or values?
–How does CCSS-based English and language arts instruction differ from what we have been doing in Utah in the past?

Science, History, etc.
–Will Utah be adopting standards from CCSS in other areas besides English and Math?
–How will this decision be made?
–Who is now drafting these standards?
–How are Utah officials currently involved in this effort?

3:00 p.m.

V. Financial Considerations of Utah’s Common Core and SBAC Assessments

–How much will adoption and implementation of CCSS in Utah cost?
–Which levels of government will bear the cost of adopting and implementing UCC?
–How will these costs be paid for at various levels of government in Utah?
–Has adoption of UCC already cost money? If so, how much?
–Does Utah plan to use federal funds to help pay for costs of adopting and implementing CCSS?
–Does Utah plan to use federal funds to help pay for costs of adopting and implementing the SBAC assessments?
–Has the federal government made funds available to states to implement CCSS, contingent on certain conditions?
–Has the federal government made funds available to states to implement common assessments such as SBAC, contingent on certain conditions?
–How much will adoption of CCSS cost in Utah for new textbooks and instructional materials? Who will pay for this?
–How much will adoption of CCSS in Utah cost for teacher training and professional development? Who will pay for this?
–How much will adoption, development and implementation of the new assessments in Utah cost? Who will pay for this?
–Will schools and districts need to acquire additional technology software and/or hardware to implement UCC or the SBAC assessments? If so, how much will this cost and who will pay for it?

3:30 p.m.

VII. Availability of Student Educational Information

–Was Utah required to create a database of student data as part of its acceptance of federal stimulus funds in 2009?
–Does Utah maintain such a database of student data?
–With which governments or entities is this student data shared?
–What is P-20 information or tracking systems? Does Utah maintain and provide such information to outside entities?
–What is the nature of the federal government’s recent change to FERPA laws?
–Was the federal government’s recent change to FERPA laws related to the CCSS Initiative?
–Why do entities outside Utah want educational data on individual Utah students?
–Does the federal government’s recent change to FERPA laws violate federal constitutional or statutory law?
–Will the recent change in federal FERPA laws result in greater release of Utah student-identifying information to the federal government, other states or private organizations?
–Are the USOE and Utah school districts required to release student information to entities outside of Utah when requested?
–Is it the practice of USOE and Utah school districts to release student information to entities outside of Utah?
–Are parents informed each time data on their student is being released to entities outside Utah?
–Do parents have a veto over sharing data regarding their student with entities outside Utah?
–Does Utah’s FERPA law now conflict with the federal FERPA law?
–Are Utah school districts required to amend their FERPA policies to reflect recent changes to federal FERPA law?
–Should Utah school districts amend their FERPA policies to reflect recent changes to federal FERPA law?
–Should the Utah Legislature strengthen Utah’s educational privacy laws in light of the recent changes to federal FERPA laws?


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