Common Core Standards Daily Update // December 15, 2014

News You Can Use:

Cincinnati Enquirer: “Inside Common Core: A Reporter Goes Back to Third Grade”: After sitting in on a third grade classroom, reporter Michelle Rotuno-Johnson says testing data will show whether CCSS is “good or bad,” but from her experience it is “different.” “In English, the children have to think critically. They compare and analyze the texts. In math, it’s more than just computing: it’s understanding how and why the answer is what it is…Common Core is deeper.” As an example, Rotuno-Johnson says instead of traditional memorization, students use a variety of methods to multiply: “repeated addition, arrays, models, fact families, counter.” “It is time consuming, but it is worth it,” the teacher adds. “I think it makes a big difference.”

What It Means: In addition to traditional problem-solving methods, CCSS introduce students to a range of techniques to better equip them with a conceptual understanding of math functions. As Rotuno-Johnson points out, although the methods may seem foreign to those who grew up using older techniques, CCSS establish a stronger working knowledge of numbers and math operations to help them succeed at higher-level content.



Syracuse Post-Standard: “To the Next New York Education Commissioner: Lessons from John King, Jr.”: Despite a public relations “faux pas” that “fueled the public’s belief that the state was trying to foist the Common Core on students, parents and educators,” efforts to raise education standards through CCSS “are laudable and must continue,” the editorial board writes. “High standards are necessary for our students to get into the best colleges and to become the well-educated work force that New York companies say they need.” To the next state education commissioner, which has yet to be identified, the editorial says, “The agent of change needs to be able to explain [CCSS] well, administer it rationally and persuade more people to work for it instead of against it.” “In some ways, the hardest part of the transition is when you’ve given that first set of assessments that reflect higher standards and the state has to confront lower scores and the reality that there’s such a large gap between where we are and where we need to be,” King told Capital New York in a separate interview.

What It Means: CCSS were developed when educators, parents and experts from across the country recognized schools were producing students unprepared for college or a career yet still deemed “proficient” under low standards. The Standards raise the bar for all students, so that no matter where a child grows up they have a fair chance to receive an education that prepares them for college or a competitive career.



Washington Post: “They Would Like Mulligans”: Columnist Jennifer Rubin writes leaders from both political parties made serious missteps over the past year, including “far right groups” that wasted donors money and showed themselves as paper tigers trying to unseat Republican incumbents. Rubin adds several GOP hopefuls “muddled their brand,” including Gov. Bobby Jindal, who showed “he either was bamboozled when he first strongly supported it or is now racing to out-Cruz Ted Cruz by kissing up to anti-CommonCore zealots.”

What It Means: For more than 18 months opponents of CCSS said support for the Standards would serve as a litmus test for candidates. But those warnings never materialized when voters went to the polls, as supporters largely won election and reelection, and the Standards emerged as a decisive issue in only four gubernatorial races last month. Additionally, of the 44 states that use CCSS, only six governors and four superintendents have indicated any interest in repealing the Standards. Instead, as Rubin notes, voters and the leaders they support have trended towards moderation and high educations standards.