Common Core Standards Daily Update // January 6, 2015

News You Can Use:

Ed Week: “Department of Defense Schools Shine”: Despite the fact children of military families move frequently and about 45% come from low-income households, students in the 180 DOD schools across the globe consistently outperform their counterparts in public schools on math and reading tests. The article attributes the performance to several factors, including greater parental accountability, full personnel support and continuity in curricula and materials between schools (next year all DOD schools will implement CCSS). “When students in traditional public schools move from state to state, they find themselves confronting material that they have already learned or that is too difficult…when I was teaching, I quickly found out that course titles meant very little in terms of what they had been taught. That meant preparing extra lessons to bring them up to speed or challenging them,” the author notes.

What It Means: For families that move often, like those in the military, CCSS provide an important tool to help ensure their child will more be able to more seamlessly transition from one classroom to the next without falling behind or relearning material. Last year,Maj. Gen. Spider Marks wrote, “The children of active-duty military personnel will change schools an estimated six to nine times before graduating high school…disparities in what is expected of students puts a strain on military families…Common Core State Standards are uniform so that students across the U.S. … will start each grade with the same opportunity and not get left behind on the way.”



On Our Reading List:

Daily Beast, “The ‘No Child’ Rewrite Threatens Your Kids’ Future”: Jonah Edelman, CEO of Stand for Children, writes some level of federal oversight is necessary to ensure state school systems act in the best interest of students from all social and economic backgrounds. Citing numerous examples of educational inequality over the past several decades, Edelman says, “It’s patently false and downright irresponsible to suggest states and districts will do the right thing without meaningful oversight from the federal government.” Despite its flaws, NCLB “exposed grossly unequal educational outcomes,” but states continued to lower standards to make it appear like they were improving. Edelman adds that recent state-based efforts have led most states to “raise standards, embrace choice, and develop fairer, more rigorous systems for evaluating teachers.”

Arkansas News, “Schools May See Boycott of Tests Aligned to Common Core”: The group Arkansas Against Common Core is encouraging parents to opt their children out of CCSS-aligned tests. “We tell them that’s completely their right to do that,” said Grace Lewis, chairman of the group. Officials in Cabot school district say the tests are mandated by law and refusal to take them could result in a student being held back.

Daily Beast, “Rand Paul’s Passive-Aggressive Trolling Campaign”: Following former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s announcement he will consider a presidential campaign, Sen. Rand Paul, who is also anticipated to run, took out more targeted digital ads to “siphon off attention.” After former Gov. Jeb Bush announced he will consider a bid, Sen. Paul ran similar ads including one that read, “We need leaders who will stand against Common Core.” “This pass-aggressive trolling campaign is the equivalent of lurking the back of the room during your opponent’s debate prep and pelting them with spitballs,” the article notes.

Huntsville Times, “Q&A with Jeff Langham”: In an interview with incoming Assistant State Superintendent for External Affairs Jeff Langham, Langham says teachers biggest concern with CCSS is that the Standards ask more of them, requiring them to reconsider how they teach. “As a local school superintendent, I have been so impressed with the tenacity and fortitude of our teachers, who have embraced the standards through these challenging times,” Langham says. Of CCSS-aligned tests, he adds, “The first round of ACT Aspire tests has helped to remind us all that we are in a whole new world that is not comparable to anything before…this is a new baseline.”

Arizona Daily Star, “Doug Ducey Becomes Arizona Governor on Monday”: Republican Doug Ducey took office on Monday. During his campaign Ducey ran on an anti-CCSS platform, promising to “rework” the states CCSS-aligned standards.



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