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When Perception Is Not Reality: A Local Teacher Talks of Common Core
Chestertown Spy
Gillian Spero, an English teacher in Maryland, writes that discussion about improving education has “centered around misleading information.” “I found real value in the Common Core State Standards…They ask that students develop independent and proficient reading skills, and learn to read critically, write, and think,” Spero stays. “In short, the standards prepare students for college and the workforce.” Like Spero, last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote there is a “maelstrom of misinformation” about the Common Core, but in actuality the standards create “a pathway to success.”

West Virginia School Board Member Wade Linger Resigns
Associated Press
West Virginia Board of Education member Wade Linger resigned Wednesday citing frustration over the State Legislature’s “encroachment” in education standards. “Now they want to go as far as to tell us what to call our standards,” he said. “Every little element of education has now been politicized.” A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes that politicization of education issues led Oklahoma to replace its Common Core State Standards, which set the state’s schools “on a rocky path of disruption, uncertainty and internal turmoil.”

Common Core Is Best Education Improvement Approach
Cincinnati Enquirer
Fred Heyse, an Ohio resident, writes the claim that the Common Core State Standards were developed by the federal government is a misperception pushed by opponents. “In fact [the Common Core] was developed by a voluntary consortium of state boards of education—neither federal nor state government run.” Heyse adds that opponents offer no alternatives for improving student performance. “Let’s work on improving the weaknesses of Common Core since it is the best new model we have,” the letter concludes. Last year Karen Nussle wrote, “Opponents of Common Core aren’t offering an alternative set of academic standards that will adequately prepare kids for college or career. Policymakers are finding it is nearly impossible to produce high quality standards that bear no resemblance to Common Core.”

Correcting the Record:

Shariah Is Creeping into Public School Classrooms
Investor’s Business Daily
Schools across the country are forcing “Islamic indoctrination” on schools through the Common Core, the editorial board claims. “Parents should know this unconstitutional promotion of Islam – along with the marginalization, even denigration, of Christianity – is happening in public schools across the country as part of President Obama’s Common Core curriculum.” The editorial makes several wildly untrue accusations. Here is where it gets it wrong:

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PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers
Education Week
PARCC officials acknowledged that students who took the exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took it with paper and pencil. “That doesn’t mean it occurred in every state, school and district on every one of the tests,” said Jeffrey Nellhaus, chief of assessment for PARCC. “There is some evidence that, in part, the differences we’re seeing may be explained by students’ familiarity with the computer-delivery system.” In general, the patterns were more pronounced in English language arts and middle- and upper-grades. About 5 million students took PARCC exams last year, and more than 80 percent completed the assessments electronically.

PARCC Results for Every School Released
On Tuesday, the New Jersey Department of Education released detailed data from PARCC assessments showing how districts, schools and student subgroups performed. The exams were administered for the first time in New Jersey last spring. The data give parents and teachers the ability to draw comparisons between schools and districts across the state, the article notes. “Now that we’re entering the second year of PARCC testing, educators and parents are seeing the benefits of PARCC,” said State Education Commissioner David Hespe in a statement. “It’s the most effective assessment tool the state has ever had, and they see how it can help improve teaching and learning in ways that our old tests never could.”