News You Can Use:

Department Releases Preliminary 2015-2016 State Level AzMERIT Results | Arizona Department of Education
Arizona’s student proficiency rates in math and reading improved modestly at most grade levels, according to results of the latest AzMERIT assessment, which the state released Monday. The biggest gains were in fifth-grade English language arts, where proficiency rates increased by 13 percentage points. The results mirror the steady gains other states leading implementation have achieved. After New York’s second year of testing, the Daily News wrote, “The chorus of ‘can’t’…was wrong. If responsible adults show fortitude, and if they have the sense to learn from schools that are making the biggest gains, children can and will achieve in ever-greater numbers.” Arizona parents will start receiving their children’s score reports the week of July 11.

Is It Better to Teach Pure Math Instead of Applied Math? | US News & World Report
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) finds students with a strong foundation in math are more likely to be able to apply those skills in a broader context. “If [educators] only teach students tips and tricks…they’re not good at transferring that knowledge to another context,” says Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills for the OECD. Common Core State Standards help boost students’ conceptual understanding of numbers and functions. The OECD report notes there remain big differences in instruction of applied math, with low-income students often receiving watered-down approaches. The findings reinforce the imperative for states to provide professional development support to teachers to help them teach to the Common Core.


Correcting the Record:

Education Reform: One-Size-Does-Not-Fit-All | Heartland Institute
Common Core State Standards and “true choice in education are incompatible,” claims Robert Holland, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. The standards were imposed on states “from the top down,” Holland argues, and parents who stand up against “nationalized standards” are entirely focused on students. However, Common Core State Standards were developed free from federal involvement, and states voluntarily adopted the standards. Moreover, attacks against the Common Core have largely relied on misleading information, obstructing honest debate. Here is where Holland gets it wrong:


On Our Reading List:

New York’s Corinth School Tests Invalidated, Teachers Suspended | Glen Falls Post Star
At least some scores from assessments administered at a Corinth School District in New York won’t count because of a problem with how they were administered, officials announced Monday. “Test scores have been invalidated,” said Superintendent Daniel Starr. Starr did not elaborate on which grades were affected. An elementary teacher was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into testing irregularities. This is the second instance of a school in the area having tests revoked because of a testing problem, the article reports.

Will Amazon Change the Way Teachers Find Lesson Plans? | Education Week
Amazon officially announced the launch of Amazon Inspire, a new platform which will offer free lesson plans, classroom activities and other instructional materials for teachers. Users will be able to add ratings and reviews, filter searches and receive recommendations based on previous selections. Teachers have demonstrated growing demand for education resources and instructional materials that can be freely copied, adapted and shared. According to Amazon Education, teachers report spending