News You Can Use:

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy and Equality in Schools
Christian Post
Results from student assessments, which often show students of color and low-income students trailing other student populations, underscore the need to ensure that all students “receive an education that prepares them for the quality of life they deserve,” writes Dr. Antipas Harris. “We can support efforts to increase quality citizens for the future of America by holding students to high, consistent academic expectations now.” Like Dr. Harris, Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote recently that results from test aligned to high learning goals are “sobering.” But parents “should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or associated tests.”

Long Island’s Troubling High School Graduation Gap
Discrepancies between high school graduation rates and college-readiness rates reveal public school expectations haven’t “been rigorous enough,” the editorial board writes. “That’s what we’re seeing with new tests based on Common Core Standards…The percentage of New York students who de well on the new state test almost exactly matches…the percentage who are college-ready.” Fordham Institute President Mike Petrilli notes the results from new assessments are “sobering,” but parents should “resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or associated tests.”

Editor Wrong on Schools
Pittsburg Morning Sun
In a letter to the editor, Lyn Schultze, a Pittsburg teacher, writes that schools have made changes to implement Common Core State Standards, but “[Arne] Duncan, the federal government, and the state have very little effect on what we decide to actually do in the classroom.” “We, the teachers, decide what we will teach.” Like Schultze, last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “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.”

Adults Learn to Do Math Kids’ Style
Abilene Reflector-Chronicle
As part of a presentation by the McKinley Elementary Math MTSS Team, Abilene School Board Members learned how to solve basic math problems using cognitively guided instruction—the problem-solving strategies used by the district to help students meet the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. “We’re teaching [math] to the needs of your child,” says Jade Koch, a third-grade teacher. “Students discover methods that work for them in order to find out information.” An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success notes that is an important distinction from old models of education so students “develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”

Correcting the Record:

Ohio Senate Candidate Calls for Elimination of Common Core
Janet Folger Porter, who is running for the Ohio Senate, pledges to introduce legislation to repeal “Common Core curriculum” if elected. “Common Core curriculum, which dumbs down kids and makes them go around the block to find the answer to their addition problem—we’ve got to stop it,” Porter says. Her argument perpetuates myths that Common Core State Standards impose curricula on schools and lower the bar for students. Here is where Porter gets it wrong:

Standards Diminish Fine-Arts Education
Knoxville News Sentinel
Calling Common Core State Standards a “curriculum plan,” Michael Waldrop, a Tennessee high school student, alleges that the standards “limit flexibility in the classroom” and diminish “the value of a fine-arts education.” “Practical skills teach us how to earn a living, but fine arts teach us how to have a life.” Contrary to Waldrop’s position, teachers continue to strongly support Common Core State Standards because they create more room for creativity and flexibility in the classroom.

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A Family Divided: Clan of Common Core Critics Differ on Whether Review Process Is Working
Hechinger Report
In Louisiana and many states across the country, committees tasked with reviewing Common Core State Standards have the difficult job of balancing public pressures while not rushing changes. Some states have used online surveys to solicit public input. In New York, for example, 70 percent of respondents were supportive of the state’s Common Core Standards. But that route has proven “highly imperfect.” Experts say the Common Core was meticulously crafted, and state officials would need to dedicate the same time and resources to make serious changes. “Just having politically engineered meetings of mathematicians and teachers for three days is not going to fix anything and will probably instead make things worse,” says Phil Daro, one of the lead writers.

New York Teachers Union Praises Common Core Test Changes
Oneida Dispatch
The New York State United Teachers union launched a 10-day, $1 million media ad campaign celebrating changes to the state’s Common Core Standards and testing model. The ads say activism by parents and teachers opened the door to a four-year moratorium on the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations and a re-boot of the Common Core State Standards. The ads began airing last Friday.