News You Can Use:

Visual Instructional Tools Are Essential When Teaching Common Core Standards | Ed Surge
Visual instructional tools, which can take many forms, empower visual learners and dovetail with the Common Core State Standards, writes Sargy Letuchy, an ESL teacher in Illinois. Visual aids “can be used in many ways to tailor instruction to the needs of students and provide a more direct path to mastery as well as student growth.” Like Letuchy, teachers across the country are finding ways to support learning through the Common Core, and collaborating to share best practices and tools to unlock students’ full potential. “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,” 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote previously.

Fact Check: Donald Trump’s False and Misleading Claims | USA Today
Donald Trump “was wrong when he called Common Core ‘education through Washington’ and said the education standards had been ‘taken over by the federal government,’” the fact check notes. The Common Core was developed by state and local leaders from across the country, and curriculum is still controlled at the state and local levels. “That’s far from a federal takeover,” the analysis concludes. “It is time for integrity and truth in this debate,” former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote previously—an important message as leaders from both parties discuss education issues ahead of November’s elections.


Correcting the Record:

Why Are We Sticking with Common Core? | Westchester Journal News 
Common Core State Standards “are beyond what many young learners are able to achieve” and “crowd out the essential components of what young learners need for healthy development,” argues Lisa Eggert Litvin, president emeritus of the Hastings-on-Hudson PTSA. “Children lose confidence and feel insecure, all because they aren’t reaching standards that, for many, simply cannot be reached at their stage of development.” Litvin suggests New York re-adopt the state’s old education standards, or those Massachusetts used before. “There is no good reason to keep the current version of CC in place… We have good options readily available.” However, Common Core State Standards are built on the best evidence of the skills and knowledge students need, beginning at early grades, to succeed at high levels of learning. States that have taken the ill-advised “repeal and replace” course demonstrate that such efforts invariably lead to either similar or identical learning goals and create disruption and uncertainty for schools. Here is where Litvin gets it wrong:


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Nebraska Public Schools Might Replace State Tests with ACT or SAT for High School Juniors | Omaha World-Herald 
Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt says state officials are considering replacing the battery of Nebraska State Accountability assessments with the ACT or SAT for high school juniors. State lawmakers voted 46-1 last session to replace the NeSA tests with a college admissions exam. According to the request for proposal, the state Department of Education is seeking a “widely accepted, standardized, off-the-shelf college entrance exam” that will cover reading, math, science and writing. “I’m encouraged if we’re looking at options that benefit all kids, whether they’re four-year college-bound or not,” said Kevin Riley, a district superintendent.
Should ESSA Jettison Proficiency Rates in School Accountability? | Education Week 
In a letter to U.S. Education Secretary John King, more than 40 education researchers and officials called on the Department of Education to move away from using proficiency rates as the key measure of school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Instead, the letter indicates, officials should allow the use of nuanced methods to evaluate schools’ effectiveness. “A proficiency rate throws out all the data except ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” says Morgan Polikoff, an associate professor at the University of Southern California. “A kid who is proficient plus one looks exactly the same as a kid who is proficient plus 1,000.”