COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // FEBRUARY 8, 2016

News You Can Use:

The Common Core Has Its Supporters
Wall Street Journal
Many New York teachers have “embraced the Common Core in the belief that it spurs more analytical thinking among children and more teamwork among educators than guidelines of the past,” the article reports. “While political jousting has dominated much of the debate about the Common Core, a cadre of teachers are eager to advance what they see as a more powerful and consistent set of expectations.” “One of the huge benefits of the Common Core is that it gave us someplace to start from and collaborate,” says Katherine Helsa, a local teacher. “Before, we were all just making up our own thing.” Last year, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote, “By raising the bar, and holding schools accountable to it, we will ensure more students are getting the resources they need to succeed at high levels of learning and to ultimately graduate high school fully prepared for a college or career of their choice.”

Common Core Is Not a Legislative Issue
Decatur Daily
Even though the State Board of Education “has shown no interest” in replacing Alabama’s Common Core Standards and “there is almost no outcry against the school standards formulated by a coalition of states,” some state lawmakers hope to do so. “Instead of scrapping standards many educators praise, adjustments should be made by educators qualified to make them,” the editorial board writes. “Introducing legislation to scrap education standards is a distraction from the real issues, which are homegrown, not handed down by the federal government.” Last year 21 State Teachers of the Year, including Alison Grizzle of Alabama, wrote, “The Common Core is not a federal takeover of our schools, nor does it force teachers into a rigid model for classroom instruction.”

Don’t Blame Common Core for Past Failures of Education
New Orleans Advocate
Confusing homework problems, which have become fodder for opponents of Common Core State Standards, have “nothing to do with the establishment of common standards,” writes Thomas Bayer, a retired professor in Louisiana. “We must give our current youth an education of significantly higher quality at levels that are consistent throughout the entire nation. And our standards must be competitive or, preferably, surpass the educational standards of the rest of the industrialized world.” Like Bayer, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett says “myths, exaggerations and hysteria” have obscured the real issues in debate over high standards, but the “issue of honest standards of learning for our children is too important to be buried in an avalanche of misinformation and demonization.”

Studies from Community College Trustee Group
New Orleans Advocate
Confusing homework problems, which have become fodder for opponents of Common Core State Standards, have “nothing to do with the establishment of common standards,” writes Thomas Bayer, a retired professor in Louisiana. “We must give our current youth an education of significantly higher quality at levels that are consistent throughout the entire nation. And our standards must be competitive or, preferably, surpass the educational standards of the rest of the industrialized world.” Like Bayer, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett says “myths, exaggerations and hysteria” have obscured the real issues in debate over high standards, but the “issue of honest standards of learning for our children is too important to be buried in an avalanche of misinformation and demonization.”

The Bell Sounds for a Wave of Retiring Baby Boom Teachers
Orange County Register
Maryls Davidson, a middle school teacher in Los Alamitos, says implementation of Common Core Standards has “swung the pendulum back” against education models that encouraged teaching to the test and deemphasized critical thinking. Davidson says students in her classes now work in groups, cite evidence and make connection among their readings in history and literature. “I see a much stronger curriculum now,” she says. Like Davidson, educators strongly support rigorous, consistent academic expectations. A 2014 Scholastic study found more than two-thirds of teachers who worked closely with the Common Core saw an improvement in students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills and more than eight in ten were enthusiastic about implementation.


Correcting the Record:

Republican Debate in New Hampshire: Updates and Key Moments
Newsday
During the most recent Republican presidential debate, Senator Ted Cruz said he would “rescind every single illegal executive action done by President Obama,” including repealing Common Core State Standards. “The reason I can end Common Core at the federal level is because Obama is abusing executive power using Race to the Top funds and the Department of Education to force it on the states,” Sen. Cruz claimed. But he is misinformed: the Every Student Succeeds Act already ensures states have full control over what education standards they choose to use. Here is where Sen. Cruz gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/reminder-new-education-law-forbids-federal-government-from-mandating-common-core/


On Our Reading List:

Kasich Hits Back against ‘Obama Republican’ Characterization
The Hill
Ohio Governor John Kasich defended his support of high, consistent education standards on Fox News Sunday. “I have been clear from the very beginning that I support high standards and local control,” Gov. Kasich said. “That’s exactly what we do in Ohio. Our state school board approves the standards and the local school boards are the ones that create the curriculum…I am for total local control.”

How One School District Is Integrating Black History beyond One Month
Chicago Daily Herald
Officials in Illinois’ U-46 School District are working to incorporate black history into schools’ curricula, including partnering with local libraries to utilize materials that align with Common Core State Standards. “Previously, we saw a great variation in how black history was included within our curriculum throughout our 57 sites,” says Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for the district. “It is an exciting opportunity. The diversity of the texts that we have available through this resource is just so amazing and overwhelming.”