COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // APRIL 26, 2016

News You Can Use:

Common Core Is Not a Threat to History in Massachusetts / New Boston Post
Massachusetts’ Common Core Standards have been an “integral part in helping our schools succeed and leveling the landscape of education for students,” but the math and English language arts learning goals do not affect how students are taught history, writes Robert Antonucci, president emeritus of Fitchburg State University. “The claim that Common Core prevents schools from teaching social studies or stops our students from learning about American history could not be farther from the truth…Our current education system is only getting better and our current standards are good for Massachusetts.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success adds, “Teaching of U.S. history hasn’t gone anywhere, especially in Massachusetts. And it won’t as long as Massachusetts continues to implement high standards.”

Teacher of the year Shares Thoughts from Time as an Ambassador / Deseret News
Even though the Common Core brand “became toxic and very political,” fights over the standards are “ludicrous,” says Shanna Peeples, last year’s Teacher of the Year who recently completed a national tour speaking with educators. [Common Core is] just a set of standards for literacy and math. All it is is what we think kids ought to know and be able to do,” Peeples says. “There are places that really love it, and it has really helped them.” States like Mississippi have embraced the Common Core, and the standards have provided a boost by providing comparability to high-performing states. Last year former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote, “Dishonest critics have decided that the Common Core is a pestilence on the land and have so characterized it. It is not…It is time for integrity and truth in this debate.”


 

Correcting the Record:

Cohasset Teacher Speaks Out against High-Stakes Testing / Cohasset Mariner
Student assessments don’t adequately measure student learning and cost classrooms valuable time, argues Bob Erland, a Massachusetts teacher. “We have to step up and make a stand against what is being inflicted against our students,” Erland says. “These tests don’t measure success, and the cost is a generation of some of our most innovative thinkers.” Opting out, the article claims, protects students from “fruitless anxiety.” In fact, refusing high-quality assessments puts students at a disadvantage and restricts parents and teachers from addressing students’ learning needs. Here is where Erland and other opt-out advocates get it wrong:

Opting Out Creates Long-Term Problems for Students, Teachers and Parents

Student assessments don’t adequately measure student learning and cost classrooms valuable time, argues Bob Erland, a Massachusetts teacher, in the Cohasset Mariner. “We have to step up and make a stand against what is being inflicted against our students,” Erland argues. “These tests don’t measure success, and the cost is a generation of some of our most innovative thinkers.”

Contrary to Erland’s claim, high-quality assessments are one of the best tools parents and teacher have to accurately measure student development, and to provide support when and where students need it. As Karen Nussle explained last fall, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career…For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute agrees. “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests. They may not be perfect, but they are finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing,” he wrote in USA Today.

Across the country, a growing number of educators, experts and parents are urging families to “opt in” to high-quality assessments.


 

On Our Reading List:

Senator Lamar Alexander on the Nation’s New Education Law, and How It Could Shape Tennessee Schools / Chalkbeat Tennessee
Speaking to educators and policymakers at Belmont University on Monday, Senator Lamar Alexander said the Every Student Succeeds Act should leave decisions to local stakeholders. Because the ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind, it gets rid of overly-prescriptive waivers that federal authorities used to incentive states. “It was important to get the balls back in the hands of the people who really should have it,” said Sen. Alexander. Of accountability factors within the new law, he added, “There are more things you have to look at in your accountability system, but what you do about those things is up to you.”

Can AI Fix Education? We Asked Bill Gates / CNBC
Tech pioneer Bill Gates says high, consistent education standards may help deploy personalized learning platforms to students. “It used to be what you learned every year was different in the 50 states. And now we have this thing called the Common Core, which is not a curriculum, but a common set of knowledge [students should have],” Gates said. “And that means that somebody like a Khan Academy, who is trying to be a website that’s a resource that helps out with all of this, when they talk about 6th grade math, it makes sense to kids in all the Common Core states exactly what’s there, the way they do the notation, the way they order things.”