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Arkansas governor tells board to look at renaming Common Core as revision process begins


LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Arkansas Board of Education should look at renaming Common Core as it reviews the education standards that have been criticized by some conservatives, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday.

The Republican formally submitted to the board recommendations from a task force that last month said the state should continue using Common Core but conduct a broader look at where to change and replace the standards.

Hutchinson said the Department of Education will begin revising the standards under a process that allows public comment on any changes. Hutchinson recommended the department examine any copyright issues with Common Core as it revises the math and English benchmarks, which have been adopted by a majority of states and describe what students should know after completing each grade.

"To avoid any issues, I would recommend the (department) proceed with a new name for the standards, if need be," Hutchinson wrote.

Hutchinson's office said he expected the review and revision process to be completed by July 2016.

The Common Core standards were developed by states to allow comparison of students' performance. The Obama administration embraced the standards and encouraged states to use them, but Common Core has faced increasing criticism, primarily from conservatives who have cast it as an overreach by the federal government.

Like the task force, Hutchinson stopped short of recommending any specific changes, instead calling on the board and state officials to increase communication with parents and school districts about standards.

The board last month adopted an early recommendation of the task force, voting to replace a standardized test aligned with Common Core. The board had initially rejected the plan to replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Consortium test with one administered by ACT, but reversed course after Hutchinson ordered education officials to withdraw from PARCC.

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