COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MARCH 30, 2016

News You Can Use:

Lack of Action on Education Standards Bill Is Disappointing, State House Speaker Says | The Oklahoman
Neither the Oklahoma House nor Senate approved the other chamber’s legislation that would have made changes to the state’s newly developed education standards, which drew criticism for being inferior to those they replaced. That means the new standards will go into effect as written by the Oklahoma Department of Education. “We now have a cloud over the standards,” House Speaker Jeff Hickman said. A new white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes Oklahoma’s “exercise to produce new education standards from whole cloth” reaffirms there are only two outcomes to that course of action: either recreating academic standards that closely resemble Common Core, or producing standards that are inferior in content and rigor.

Math Must Be about Understanding, Not Just Following Directions | Matt Larson, a curriculum specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, says math instruction that emphasizes understanding is not a new concept, but it is necessary to build the skills students will need in an evolving economy. “Students are learning the same math their parents did, but they’re learning much more,” Larson explains. “They’re learning how and why.” A “math check” by the Collaborative for Student Success points out, “It’s important for kids to 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.”

Eighth Grade Math IS Changing – But Students Won’t Learn Any Less | Collaborative for Student Success
In the Los Angeles Times, Sonali Kohli makes note of the changes coming to eighth grade math classrooms. She writes, “instead of emphasizing Algebra I where only some students thrive, many schools are placing all students in the same general class that covers several concepts.” However, a new Collaborative for Student Success blog points out that these changes don’t mean that students will be learning any less.


Correcting the Record:

Common Core Part of a Leftist Centralized Education Plan, Says Heritage Foundation Report | Breitbart News
A Heritage Foundation report, which compiles opinion essays from several education policy commentators, suggests Common Core State Standards are “part of the progressive push to centralize education.” “The trajectory of the Common Core is a direct path to a federal curriculum,” Neal McCluskey of the CATO Institute writes. “Common Core has radically expanded its reach, capturing the entire spectrum of the curriculum,” adds Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. But, contrary to these wild claims, Common Core State Standards do not dictate, or even limit, curricula or teachers’ control over their classrooms. Here is where the Heritage Report gets it wrong: http://forstudentsuccess.org/opponents-would-love-to-have-you-believe-common-core-is-a-federal-curriculum-but-its-not/


On Our Reading List:

Not as Smart as We Think | US News & World Report
Americans’ conception of their cognitive abilities “do not square” with evidence from international assessments, which show both U.S. students and adults “score around the middle of the pack, or worse,” opines Nat Malkus of American Enterprise Institute. U.S. adults scored average in literacy, below-average in numeracy and tied for last in digital literacy, according to results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. “By way of Common Core or despite it, raising the standards for learning in American schools are a vital step toward long-term economic viability,” Malkus concludes.

State Boards Feel New Urgency to Flex Muscles | Education Week
State boards of education are seeking to reassert their influence as education issues are returned to the state and local levels from federal control through the Every Student Succeeds Act. At the same time those boards often find themselves squeezed between local boards, legislatures and state education departments over policy decisions. All those entities are expected to vie for a share of the flexibility under the ESSA.

Common Core’s Major Political Challenges for the Remainder of 2016 | The Brown Center Chalkboard
Common Core Standards are unfairly “paying a political price” for stagnant NAEP scores over the past six years, writes Tom Loveless, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Loveless identifies several indicators to watch that will signal what lies ahead for the Common Core, including: Teacher support, which could show “trouble the ground level”; Efforts by Common Core supporters to change NAEP, which is “long overdue”: and Whether opt-out efforts “can expand to other states.”