COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // FEBRUARY 18, 2016

News You Can Use:

West Virginia Has a Choice to Make | Collaborative for Student Success
Legislation in the West Virginia legislature that seeks to repeal the state’s education standards would subject students and teachers to three different sets of standards in three years and require the Department of Education to procure new assessments. “If this legislation goes through, it would cost the state millions of dollars in terms of a new test, new curricular materials and new professional development for the state’s teachers…causing undue chaos and confusion in the classroom,” the blog notes. “Our students need to engage in a rigorous course of study where the answers don’t come easily,” the Register-Herald editorial board writes. “That’s at the heart of Common Core …The reward is better preparation for students to compete beyond high school.”

Principals in New Study Believe Common Core Will Improve Student Learning | Education World
Sixty-nine percent of principals surveyed in a study by Harvard University believe Common Core State Standards will lead to improved student learning. The report also finds 73 percent of teachers have embraced the standards “fully” or “quite a bit.” “The authors of the Harvard study say ideological wrangling over Common Core obscures the fact that ‘teachers and principals have embraced the CCSS and believe their students will benefit from them in the long run,’” a Newsworks article notes. Last fall, Mike Lerchenfeldt, a Michigan Educator Voice Fellow, explained the Common Core provides educators “the freedom to be flexible and creative in their instruction” and “encourage students to develop their critical thinking skills in order to obtain deeper levels of understanding.”

Southern Poverty Law Center: GOP Is a Megaphone for Right-Wing Hate | Daily Beast
An “unprecedented” amount of misinformation has entered the mainstream media during the current election cycle, officials from the Southern Poverty Law Center say. One such conspiracy theory, the article notes, is the idea that Common Core State Standards are a socialist conspiracy theory. Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett wrote last year, “Lies, myths, exaggerations and hysteria about what the Common Core means and does have dominated the ‘debate’ and the real issues have been obscured… Opponents of the Common Core know they can fan the flames of opposition far more effectively with these sensational and scurrilous accusations rather than engaging in an honest, intellectual policy debate.”


Correcting the Record:

New Report Sheds Light on Deficiencies of Common Core Math | Caffeinated Thoughts
A study by the American Principles Project suggests Common Core math standards smudge the line between standards and curriculum, “undermining the professional judgment of teachers.” “Analysis of the standards provides no compelling evidence that excellence in understanding or applying mathematics will be attained,” the report argues. “Embedding pedagogy into the standards blurs the line of distinction between standards and curriculum.” Common Core State Standards encourage students to employ multiple problem-solving approaches in order to develop a conceptual understanding of math. Here is where the American Principles Project report gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/experts-agree-common-core-helps-students-build-a-strong-understanding-of-math/


On Our Reading List:

Virginia Governor Wants to Remake High School Education | Washington Post
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants high schools in the state to put a greater focus on workforce preparation and opportunities for students to earn college credit in high school. In January, Gov. McAuliffe publicly supported a bill that would give the Virginia Board of Education the authority to determine what students need to know to successfully step into the workforce and redesign high school requirements from there. “What we’re trying to create is a high school experience that values multiple pathways,” says State Delegate Thomas Greason, who sponsored a bill that passed the House and is working through the Senate.

Few Answers as Education Officials Testify about Testing Breakdown | Chalkbeat Tennessee
A hearing led by Tennessee lawmakers Wednesday to determine the causes for the state’s botched transition to online tests “generated more questions than answers.” The testing system crashed on February 8 as thousands of students were mid-test. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said the State Department of Education had done everything it could to prepare, including administering millions of practice exams. “The system was not under tremendous load when it fell over,” testified Cliff Lloyd, chief information officer for the department. During the hearing, Gov. Bill Haslam announced in an email that test scores would not factor into teacher ratings this year.

With Math I Can | Amazon Education
The “With Math I Can” initiative, launched by Amazon Education, encourages parents, students and teachers to pledge to stop saying, “I’m not good at math,” and approach the subject with a growth mindset. That includes celebrating mistakes as opportunities to grow, feeling confident to share thinking, and perseverance through difficult practice. “With a growth mindset, students believe that intelligence can grow. It’s that optimistic outlook that we must learn to guide and support,” the site notes.