News You Can Use:

Common Core Standards Expect Students to Conceptually Understand Math
Associated Press
In Iowa, second grade teacher Ann Johnson helps students solve math problems using a range of approaches. “The whole purpose [is] to roll all the way back and make sure we’ve got these foundational skills solidified,” Johnson explains of the Common Core’s emphasis on multiple problem-solving methods. “We want kids to be 21st-century learners, problem-solving thinkers,” adds Bridgett Hamilton, a math coordinator for Dubuque Community Schools. “I’m encouraged by the way [the standards are] using critical thinking to solve problems rather than just memorization,” says Jason Neises, an Iowa parent. Jason Zimba, one of the lead writers of Common Core math standards, explains that while standards introduce students to multiple problem-solving methods, “students are expected to know their sums and products from memory and to be fluent with the standard algorithm for each of the four basic operations.”

Wrapping Up the First Year of AzMERIT
Educators for High Standards
High-quality assessments, like Arizona’s AzMERIT tests, are just one of the “multiple ways to measure student learning,” but they are an important one, writes Justin Dye, a second-grade teacher. “The bar has been raised higher,” Dye says. “Arizona is asking more from our students so they can achieve their full potential. AzMERIT goes beyond the previous bubble test by measuring a wide range of real-world skills, like critical thinking, problem solving and analysis.” Last fall, Louisiana State Superintendent John White noted, “states have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline… That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

Schools Chiefs: Common Core Opt-Outs Could Cost Long Island Schools $200M
A group of New York superintendents voiced concern that high opt-out rates could cost Long Island Public Schools more than $200 million in federal and state financial aid. The group, which represents 192 school districts and nearly 700,000 students, says withholding aid could impede efforts to improve the testing system. The districts that have the most to lose are the ones least responsible for opt-outs,” says Lorna Lewis, a local superintendent. In a memo last fall, Karen Nussle explains high-quality tests are one of the best tools parents and teachers have to measure student development. “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do…For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Correcting the Record:

Common Core: Five Teachers Open Up, and They Don’t Hold Back
Yahoo! Parenting
Mischaracterizing the Common Core as “curriculum,” the article—which references strong support for the standards among educators—claims “Common Core will soon follow [No Child Left Behind] into the dustbin,” and that one would “be hard-pressed to find a nice world about the curriculum from parents.” Here is where the article gets it wrong:

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Kasich Spreads Optimistic Message in New Hampshire
The Hill
During a First in the Nation Town Hall event in New Hampshire, Ohio Governor John Kasich was asked about his support for Common Core State Standards. “I’ll tell you what I believe, and it’s not about Common Core—I don’t even know what all that means,” Gov. Kasich said. “Here’s what I want in Ohio and what I want in every state—high standards and local control at the school board level.”