COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // JANUARY 8, 2016

News You Can Use:

How to Use Your Child’s PARCC Scores
Denver Post
As Colorado releases results from the first administration of PARCC assessments, Emily Volkert, a literary specialist in Denver Public Schools, offers advice for parents about how to use the score reports. “First, dig in,” Volkert says. “Next, join forces. Take what you learned from your child and set up a conversation with his or her teacher…Finally, stock up [with resources like Be a Learning Hero].” Volkert’s advice is timely as parents and teachers receive results for the first time from assessments that provide an honest measure of student readiness.

Calling a Truce in the Math Wars
Boston Globe
Columnist Joanna Weiss writes that after experiencing changes in math instruction under Common Core, meant to “give kids a deeper understanding of the concepts behind the math,” she began to think about and grasp ideas she hadn’t before—and she believes other parents will find the same. Weiss urges parents to be patient. “Don’t teach kids a new method one day, then expect them to recreate it at home, inviting confusion and panic and snide Facebook posts…The problem isn’t ‘new math,’ but the way we talk to each other about it.” In a recent blog, Jim Cowen notes, “Common Core aims to ensure that our children have a solid understanding of the basics, so that they’re better prepared to conquer math in the future…As we shift to these new approaches in math, we’re going to need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

For Parents Confused by Common-Core Math, Ask the Teacher for Help
Education Week
While changes to instruction happening as schools implement Common Core State Standards may be unfamiliar to many parents, teachers are a valuable resource to help explain the transition, Liana Heitin reports. “In reporting on parents’ views about common-core math, I’ve also found that giving teachers a chance to explain their teaching methods really can sway public opinion. Many parents who are initially frustrated by common-core methods change their minds after speaking with a teacher or attending a math night for parents.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success adds that changes to math help “kids learn multiple approaches to solving math problems…so that they develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”


Correcting the Record:

Teachers Want to Dump Tests
Connecticut Post
On Thursday, the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, called on the governor and state legislature to replace Smarter Balanced assessments. “Why are we giving students a test when they can’t read it or write it or speak it?” said Ana Batista, a local special education teacher, who argued that teachers are pulled out of their classrooms to proctor exams and are not available to teach English Language Learners. “It is just not fair to them. Kids who just moved to the country.” However, assessments aligned to rigorous academic expectations, like Smarter Balanced, are designed to accurately measure student development and provide parents and teachers with honest information. Here is where they went wrong:  http://forstudentsuccess.org/teachers-and-parents-high-quality-assessments-provide-valuable-information/


On Our Reading List:

Proposal Would Give Students Alternatives to Controversial Statewide Test
Miami Herald
This week, Florida State Senator Don Gaetz filed a plan to allow students to make use of “rigorous alternative assessment options” in lieu of the Florida Standards Assessment, which is aligned to the state’s Common Core Standards. The proposal would permit students to take test like the ACT or SAT instead. “The implementation problems associated with FSA have eroded the public’s confidence,” said Gaetz. State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart expressed opposition to the plan on Wednesday. “If there were an alternate that were provided, it puts us in a bad spot. Our assessment has to be aligned to what’s being taught.”