The Common Core State Standards were voluntarily adopted by Massachusetts almost six years ago, unfortunately EducationNext’s most recent poll shows that Latino parents are less likely to be aware of whether their districts are implementing the new standards when compared to English-speaking parents. One in 5 Spanish speakers report that they have heard nothing at all about the new standards.
Massachusetts is falling short when it comes to conducting outreach to Latino parents.
Despite the information gap, the same poll reported that Latino parents largely support the Common Core and value high-quality assessments as a tool to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their children. These findings are in line with a 2015 NBC News/Pearson poll highlighting that Hispanic and Black parents are more likely to approve of the Common Core, at 73 percent and 56 percent respectively.
Who’s Really Leading the Push to Repeal Standards
Given all this support for high standards and testing, why is there a push in Massachusetts to repeal the new standards? It doesn’t seem like Latino and Black parents are leading the charge.
The Common Core Forum, a group of parents and advocates promoting opt-out, is leading the repeal effort. Like anti-Common Core advocates across the country, the group feels that the standards are lacking, promote a corporate agenda, and hinder their children’s ability to succeed in school.
A recent blog post stated:
If Common Core’s standards and tests are, as it is claimed, so much better than whatever schools were using before, why not use them only for low-achieving, low-income kids and let them catch up?
This sounds like separate but not equal, something we have been fighting against for generations.
The efforts of anti-Common Core activists do not represent the interests of Latino parents across the state. Latino and Black parents want information from tests to see how their children are doing in order to help prepare them for college.
Enabling test refusal sets students up to fail in the future; they cannot opt out of tests in college, the bar exam, or other professional certification exams.
Ready, Set, Go!
Elevating the voices of Latino parents is critical if Massachusetts is going to continue to be a leader in public education, Latino students make up the second largest demographic group in the state. This is why the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is concerned about the lack of information and resources being provided to Latino parents to equip them with the tools needed to help their children understand and master the Common Core standards and aligned assessments.
LULAC is expanding its Ready, Set, Go! grassroots education program which aims to provide reliable information about the Common Core and the role of high-quality assessments to Spanish-speaking parents. LULAC’s Massachusetts councils are hosting community sessions in Spanish to provide parents an opportunity to learn more about tools and resources at their disposal to help their children succeed in school.
Parents participate in activities to better understand the standards and tests, such as doing sample test questions in reading and math. The sessions conclude with discussions and the chance for parents to create an action plan on how they will help their children prepare for the tests.
Two sessions took place in April and many more are being planned in Massachusetts. Grassroots efforts like these provide parents with information to help them make informed decisions. LULAC Massachusetts considers this a top priority.
We must inform our communities about the Common Core and high-quality assessments. Our communities must have a sense of urgency in preserving the Common Core and rebuke any efforts to repeal them.
The upcoming election in November, where a potential Common Core repeal measure may appear, will provide Latinos a powerful way to ensure that instruction in the classroom remains robust and that our children are prepared for college and careers.