COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MAY 18, 2016

News You Can Use:

Utah Votes to ‘Review’ Common Core Rather than Kill It Entirely / Daily Caller
Despite Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s call to repeal the Common Core, the state Board of Education’s review could produce “minor tweaks, or no changes at all.” The Board agreed to accelerate a regular review of the standards (a similar review in 2014 found the Common Core did not cost Utah control of its education standards) contingent upon the Legislature approving a one-time budget supplement. Because the legislative session ended in March, that may not happen until next year. In the interim, Utah schools will continue to use Common Core State Standards. Last year Karen Nussle cautioned, “It is virtually impossible to produce a set of K-12 academic standards that both bear no resemblance to Common Core, and adequately prepare students for college and career.”

California’s Graduation, Dropout Rates Improve for Sixth Straight Year / EdSource
California’s high school graduation rate increased to 82.3 percent for the class of 2015, and the dropout rate fell to 10.7 percent, according to state figures released Tuesday. “This is encouraging news any way you look at it, especially since the increase is occurring as we are introducing much more rigorous academic standards,” said state superintendent Tom Torlakson. Although it is impossible to attribute the gains solely to higher learning goals, evidence indicates Common Core State Standards are raising classroom expectations. “The Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards,” a Harvard study earlier this year concludes.

 


 

Correcting the Record:

New Education Model Is a Step Backward / Fresno Bee
Common Core State Standards have turned “vibrant, creative classrooms into generic, Stepford-Wives, sit-down-and-shut-up systems that promote rote memorization,” claims James Carson, a California resident. “We have taken independent thinking and creativity out of education and replaced them with paint-by-numbers and the illusion of complexity. The dumbing down of America is complete.” In fact, Common Core State Standards promote critical thinking by establishing high academic expectations consistent for all students. Here is where Carson gets it wrong:

Common Core State Standards Promote Critical Thinking and Creativity

In a letter to the Fresno Bee, California resident James Carson claims Common Core State Standards have turned “vibrant, creative classrooms into generic, Stepford-Wives, sit-down-and-shut-up systems that promote rote memorization…We have taken independent thinking and creativity out of education and replaced them with paint-by-numbers and the illusion of complexity. The dumbing down of America is complete.”

But in fact the Common Core is designed to foster critical thinking and creativity in classrooms by establishing rigorous education standards consistent for all students.

The official website of the standards notes, “The Common Core focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills students will need to be successful… The new standards also provide a way for teachers to measure student progress throughout the school year and ensure that students are on the pathway to success in their academic careers.”

“Common Core State Standards now ask students…to analyze complex texts, to weigh evidence, to make clear and effective arguments, and to work with others with very different views,” David Ruenzel, a former teacher, wrote in 2014. “It will no longer be enough for youngsters to memorize information or rely on formulas.”

Likewise, last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote that the Common Core fosters greater creativity and flexibility in teaching. “In fact, under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states.”

Contrary to Carson’s claim that the Common Core homogenizes learning, or forces teachers into a rigid model of instruction, the standards equip educators to meet their students’ needs by setting high, consistent learning goals and giving full control over how best to meet those targets to local authorities.


 

On Our Reading List:

How Lake Area Schools Are Dealing with New Missouri Learning Standards / Lake News Online
Educators and school administrators report little disruption since the Missouri Board of Education approved new education standards to replace the Common Core earlier this year. “I don’t see any huge changes,” says Joyce Ryerson, a district superintendent. “Kids have to be able to add, subtract and divide at certain ages. They have to know order of operation. There are just certain things that don’t change…Our philosophy has always been to teach the concepts that we know are important at the various levels, and if you do that, the test takes care of itself.”

GED Would No Longer Be the Only Diploma Exam for Dropout under Proposal from Governor John Kasich / Cleveland Plain Dealer
On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced a proposal to allow students to choose from multiple tests to earn a high school equivalency diploma. “Approving at least two equivalency exams creates a competitive market with the potential of driving down testing costs while also providing testing options to our adult learners,” said a spokesperson for the Governor. Under the proposal the Ohio Department of Education would select two additional tests that student can take instead of the GED.