COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MARCH 18, 2016

News You Can Use:

PARCC Gets High Marks | Albuquerque Journal
As New Mexico schools prepare to administer PARCC assessments for the second year, “five disparate groups…have given an emphatic ‘yes’” to whether it is a high-quality test. Studies by the American Institutes for Research, the Human Resources Research Organization, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Center for American Progress and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year all give high marks to PARCC exams for measuring content aligned to college- and career-readiness and having rigor comparable to NAEP. “Heading into the PARCC testing window, five disparate groups say taking the test, not opting out, is what will help New Mexico students make life’s big leagues. It would be helpful if our education leaders at APS were equally enlightened,” columnist D’Val Westphal concludes. “[PARCC assessments] are a step in the right direction,” Pam Reilly, Illinois’ 2014 Teacher of the Year and a participant in the NNSTOY Research, wrote in January. “I can say with confidence these new assessments are the kind we should want our kids to take.”

Schools’ Family Math Nights Play Up Common Core Pluses | Modesto Bee
Schools in northern California continue to host math nights and other engagement opportunities for parents to learn more about Common Core State Standards. “Our focus is not so much what the answer is, but more what [students] learn along the way to solve those problems,” says Leanna Baker of the California Mathematics Council. “Our goal is for students to become good problem solvers.” “We have to help parents understand that shift,” adds Jaime Garner, a math consultant. Theresa Foote, a math teacher in Modesto, says there is still an emphasis on getting the right answer. “We do care about right answers, but we also care about the understanding.” A “math check” by the Collaborative for Student Success notes that learning multiple approaches to math problems is important for students to “develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”


Correcting the Record:

The Problem of Common Core | The Heights
Common Core State Standards, a federal fix to education problems, won’t improve student outcomes because they do not adapt to local needs, argues Chase Schaub, a political commentator. “How can a government official in Washington possibly know what the best educational strategy is for someone in Boston, San Francisco, Detroit or New Orleans?” However, Common Core State Standards were developed by educators, experts and leaders from across the country—not federal authorities—and they give local teachers and school boards full control of what and how to teach. Here is where Schaub gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/common-core-state-standards-were-developed-free-from-federal-control-and-remain-a-local-effort/


On Our Reading List:

New York Changes Controversial Common Core Tests | CNYCentral.com
Months ahead of administering assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards, the New York Department of Education announced changes to the tests. Those changes include reducing the number of questions in English language arts and math, and giving students unlimited time to complete both sections. “We are looking for even more as we move forward to change those [tests] even more,” said Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “I believe that each of the areas that we addressed is responsive to what I’ve heard as I traveled over 20,000 miles around the state.”

Standards Replacing Common Core Draw Lawmakers’ Criticism | The Oklahoman
After voting to replace Oklahoma’s Common Core Standards in 2014, some lawmakers now say the new standards should be rejected. “There is room for improvement in an otherwise good product,” says State Representative Jason Nelson, coauthor of the 2014 bill to replace the Common Core. Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas, says, “You would never know these standards were written by Oklahomans for Oklahoma…There is absolutely nothing in these standards that has an Oklahoma touch.”

Common Core Opponents Vow to Get Issue on November Ballot | Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise
As lawmakers considered a bill to repeal Massachusetts’ Common Core Standards, supporters of the initiative said they are prepared to get the issue added as a ballot item in November. “We’re planning on getting our remaining 11,000 signatures. We will be doing a lot of education,” said Donna Colorio, head of the group End Common Core Massachusetts. The State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education voted this week to place into a study order legislation sponsored by State Representative Todd Smola to nullify the Massachusetts Board of Education’s 2010 vote to adopt Common Core Standards.