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Wisdom Begins In Wonder | Educators for High Standards
Fourth grade teacher Lexie Woo writes that high standards allow her the “freedom as a professional to determine how I want to support every student” in reaching high expectations. She continues, “It’s not just that high standards give educators the freedom to be more creative and independent (which they do, in my experience). My epiphany was that high standards create opportunities for students to be more creative and independent — two things that will drastically affect their success in my classroom and beyond.” And this evidence can be seen in testimonials from teachers across the country. Last year, 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote that the Common Core fosters greater creativity and flexibility in teaching. “In fact, 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.”

The Danger of a Single Story and How Common Core Can Help | Education Post
2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year Joshua Parker argues that the limitations of using only one anecdote to come to a conclusion is exactly why students need the Common Core. He notes that multiple perspectives “should be embraced as a means to encourage students to plumb into texts in profound ways.” Common Core State Standards allow teachers to use creativity in the classroom, showing students how to think more critically about how to solve problems and giving them multiple ways to do so. To demonstrate this, Parker references a recent lesson he taught, asking students to dig deeper into the meaning behind a scene in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye: “I think the end goal of Common Core for English is that students can understand prose and poetry as well as produce it with elan, verve and wit. Once students experience the richness and craft of language arts, there is a better chance they can use it to tell their own stories.”

Editorial: Utah Seems Eager to Drop Out of Education | Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune laments that officials are moving to reject the Common Core and SAGE, Utah’s annual assessment. The Tribune notes, “If someone has, or knows how to create, a curriculum that’s better than Common Core, or a test that does a better job than SAGE of measuring strengths and weaknesses, everyone from your classroom teacher to the State Board of Education to the governor would love to hear it.” Even though the Tribune improperly describes the Common Core (it’s just a set of standards, not a curriculum), they are absolutely right that standards and assessments are crucial and that the state’s political leaders don’t appear ready to offer workable alternatives. Note to Utah’s politicians: Stand-up to naysayers and find the courage to do what is right for the state’s students and teachers.

Let’s Not Bypass Latino Parents in Fight Over the Common Core | Education Post
Juan Lopez, vice president of the Northeast League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), reports on how Massachusetts schools are consistently failing to properly inform Latino families of how they are implementing Common Core standards. As a repeal measure may appear on the November ballot, Lopez encourages Latino parents to attend LULAC’s council meetings, and become better informed on the benefits of Common Core. In an opinion piece earlier this week, NHCLC’s Rev. Samuel Rodriguez underscored the importance of high standards for the Hispanic community: “We at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference consider education equity a matter of biblical justice, and we’re committed to raising the standards for all students, especially minority children and those living in poverty.”


Correcting the Record:

Common Core has common problem for black students | One News Now
One News Now published an article claiming that since the implementation of Common Core, the achievement gap between African American students and their white peers has gotten worse. It goes on to explain that upper-class families are able to compensate by paying for tutors and extra classes, leaving disadvantaged families bound to the failing education system and the Common Core State Standards. In reality, African American students have seen gains in performance under the Common Core. Here is where One News Now  gets it wrong:

Bentley and New Superintendent Should Repeal Common Core |
Conservative columnist Quin Hillyer argues for scrapping the Common Core in Alabama, arguing that Governor Bentley should “listen to grassroots Alabamans and fulfill his 2014 campaign promise – which echoed his own pledges made several years earlier – to repeal Common Core.” Hillyer continues, “At least as importantly, it is imperative that he chooses a new state school superintendent who stands for excellence apart from any reliance on the flawed Common Core standards.” What Hillyer may not know – or what he chooses to ignore – is that businesses, military leadership, and conservative elected officials have strongly and consistently defended the Common Core in Alabama. Here’s where Hillyer gets it wrong:


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Two-Track System for High School Math Gets Initial Approval by Senate | Time Warner Cable News
North Carolina’s House Bill 657, which allows students to choose between the new integrated math pathway (Math one, two and three) and traditional math courses (Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II), has passed the State Senate and is now heading back to the House for final approval. Supporters of the bill claim that it gives students and parents flexibility to choose how they are taught math. Opponents – including the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators – North Carolina, who publicly opposed the bill in a letter – claim that schools will not have the staff to provide two different math curriculums and the “traditional” standards will not adequately prepare students for college or careers.