COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // FEBRUARY 2, 2016

News You Can Use:

Many Parents Hated Common Core Math at First, Before Figuring It Out
Washington Post
Columnist Jay Mathews, who in December asked for parents’ feedback on Common Core math instruction, writes, “Astonishingly…almost all of the reactions from people with children in schools have been positive, particularly when talking about math. Nearly every one of them said they disliked the program at first but changed their minds when they realized that their kids, with good teaching, were learning more with greater enjoyment.” One parent explains, students now “reason and understand. They do not memorize and move on.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success notes Common Core introduces students to multiple problem-solving techniques “so that they develop a full understanding of the concepts.” Jason Zimba, one of the lead writers of the Common Core math standards, explains students are still required to know traditional methods, like memorization and the standard algorithm.

Local Schools: A Weapon to Blunt the Potential for Future Troop Cuts
Real Clear Defense
“Given the economic lifeblood that Army bases provide local host communities,” base closures could deal a devastating hit to areas, writes Jim Cowen, director of military outreach at the Collaborative for Student Success. One step communities can take is to “improve the performance of local schools.” Leaders “should support high, consistent standards, such as Common Core. Not only does Common Core set a high bar to challenge students, but it allows politicians to know where their schools stand compared to those near other bases.” A Stimson Center report last year found access to high-quality education is important to military retention, and for that reason states have an incentive to implement rigorous, comparable education standards.

Donald Trump’s Misleading Claims about Common Core and Education Trends
Washington Post
A fact-check of Donald Trump’s recent criticism of Common Core State Standards gives the Republican presidential candidate’s statements a “Three Pinocchio” rating. “Common Core State Standards Initiative was a state-led initiative crafted by a bipartisan group of governors and state school chiefs representing most states,” the article says. “States can decide to adopt the standards for K-12 math and English Language Arts standards; it is not mandatory. State and local school districts design and choose their curriculums to implement Common Core standards in their districts.” Another fact-check of an ad attacking Ohio Governor John Kasich for, among other things, supporting Common Core also gives those criticisms a “Three Pinocchio” rating for the same reasons. Objective analyses have repeatedly dismissed claims that Common Core State Standards were created with support from the federal government or that states were pressured into adopting them. Last year, 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “Common Core is not a federal takeover of our schools, nor does it force teachers into a rigid model for classroom instruction.”

State Superintendent’s New Blueprint Clears Up Dangerous Myths on Common Core
Huffington Post
Xochitl Gilkeson, a California teacher, writes that State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s plan to provide greater information about implementation of the Common Core “is great news for our students’ families.” “With a focus placed on teaching students how to make logical inferences based on evidence,” Gilkeson writes, “the value of the Common Core…is crystal clear.” “By holding our students to a higher standard and teaching them how to build a skill set and transfer it to a new context, we give them an ability to learn that will extend into their life beyond school.” As Gilkeson points out, Karen Nussle wrote last year that recent polling indicates while the public has a lot of misconceptions about the Common Core, parents overwhelmingly support rigorous academic expectations that prepare students for college and careers.

The Wasteful Push to Fix Common Core: States Are Spending Millions to Develop New Standards, and for What?
New York Daily News
Before voters and policymakers “nod in support” of efforts to repeal New York’s Common Core State Standards, they should consider the tumultuous outcomes in Indiana and Oklahoma, states that have gone down that path, writes Katie Moylan, a New York teacher. “Neither state has seen success for their time-consuming and expensive efforts. In fact, the most significant changes in these states were for the worse.” Like the report by High Achievement New York Moylan references, a white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success finds Oklahoma’s efforts to replace the Common Core has resulted in uncertainty for teachers and students. “While other states are working to provide parents and teachers with better tools to measure student development towards college- and career-readiness, the future for Oklahoma’s academic standards—and its students—is less certain.”


Correcting the Record:

Testing Opt-Outs Won’t Stop Despite Threat of Sanctions from U.S. Education Officials
Syracuse Post-Standard
Undeterred by efforts to curb federal control of education and testing, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, opt-out advocates in New York caution that momentum will continue to build. “What was once a whisper is now boldly stated,” claims Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education Fund. “Opt out is not going away.” However, high-quality assessments provide parents and educators with one of the strongest tools to measure student development, and efforts to encourage students to refuse tests threatens to undermine states’ focus on preparing young people for college and careers. Here’s where opt-out advocates get it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/ny-carol-burris-opt-out-threaten-parents-and-teachers-assessments/


On Our Reading List:

One in Five Common Core Standards Should Be Changed, Educators Say
Baton Rouge Advocate
A group of educators tasked with reviewing Louisiana’s Common Core State Standards said Monday it will recommend about one in five of the standards be changed. The review stems from a law passed last year. The recommendations will be provided to the Standards Review Committee, which will likely vote on the proposed changes today. “Given the fact that we reviewed each and every standard not once, not twice, but many times over, it was a very rich, deep conversation,” said Regina Sanford, chair of the teacher committee.

Are Teachers Getting the Right Kind of Common-Core Professional Development?
Education Week
Two surveys by the RAND Corporation, a research and analysis firm, find educators are receiving professional development to support implementation of Common Core State Standards. “The problem is that it’s not always focused on the topics that they say they need the most help on,” the article reports. The survey of over 1,100 teachers finds more than half report “content of state standards” is the focus of professional development, but only 28 percent in math and 31 percent in English language arts say the focus reflected their needs.