News You Can Use:


Helping Minority Students Excel in the Classroom / Christianity Today

The U.S. education system has traditionally expected less of minority students, which only handicaps those individuals more, says Kristina Boone, an educator and director of teacher outreach for the Collaborative for Student Success. “The good news is that it goes the other way too.” Boone explains her teachers “knew that the best way to help me be successful was to push me beyond what society believed I could achieve.” Tools like the “Readiness Roadmap” help parents support those efforts. This year Dr. Antipas Harris wrote, “Unless we are willing to hold all students to rigorous expectations, and to ensure they have the support they need to meet them, we will continue to fall short of the collective call to treat all of God’s children with proper support.”

Military Families Bear Burden of Inconsistent Education Standards / The Hill

Member of the military should not have to sacrifice a quality education to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, writes former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Common Core State Standards provide a level of consistent academic rigor, offering military families a better assurance their children won’t get left behind or be forced to relearn material if and when they move. A report by the Stimson Center last year found access to a quality education affects the military’s ability to retain attract and retain qualified individuals. “[Common Core State Standards] deserve our continued support,” wrote Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards.

Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices / Center for Education Policy

A study by the Center for Education Policy (CEP) finds nearly half of math and English language arts teachers are unsure whether their state will keep its current education standards, creating uncertainty that 80 percent say presents a challenge. Between 57 and 73 percent of participants say they retain control and autonomy over instruction, curriculum and teacher collaboration. A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes the “repeal-and-replace” path several states have taken and others are considering creates a rocky path of disruption for teachers and students, and invariably leads to either a rebranding or inferior standards. “It is virtually impossible to produce a set of K-12 academic standards that both bear no resemblance to Common Core, and adequately prepare students for college and career,” Karen Nussle wrote last year.

PARCC Opt-Out Numbers Down This Year / Albuquerque Journal

The number of New Mexico students who refused state tests decline by more than half this year over last. Only about three percent of eligible student opted out of the PARCC exam. “We’re pleased to see that more New Mexico students are getting their progress measured so we can identify those who are struggling and get them the help they need,” said one district spokesperson. Nationwide a growing chorus has emerged urging students and parents to “opt-in” to high-quality assessments. “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career,” Karen Nussle wrote last fall. “For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Despite Growing Pains, the Goals of Common Core Are Urgent / Newsday

Common Core State Standards have not been perfectly implemented, but they are “mostly on target” and officials have made changes to address concerns, the editorial board writes. “It’s time for everyone to get past the mistakes and work together to give students the education they need. That’s the war that all sides in this battle must band together to win.” Mike Petrilli wrote that it’s impossible to create college- and career-ready education standards that look nothing like the Common Core. “That’s because Common Core, though not perfect, represents a good-faith effort to incorporate the current evidence of what students need to know and do to succeed in credit-bearing courses in college or to land a good-paying job.”


Correcting the Record:


PARCC Testing Is about Profit, Not Education / Vineland Daily Journal

Arguing that New Jersey officials bypassed the appropriate bidding process to adopt PARCC assessments, Antonina Penna claims, “Common Core is nothing more than profit-driven. Pearson is raking in billions of dollars off taxpayers…It’s not about education. It never was. Follow the money.” However, high-quality assessments like PARCC have proven to better measure the skills students need to become prepared for college and careers and provide parents with better information about the children’s development. Here is where Penna gets it wrong:


Correcting the Record: High-Quality Assessments Aren’t about Profits, They’re about Helping Students Achieve Their Full Potential


In the letter to the Vineland Daily Journal Antonina Penna claims, “Common Core is nothing more than profit-driven. Pearson is raking billions of dollars off taxpayers…It’s not about education. It never was. Follow the money.”


However, contrary to Penna’s claim, Common Core State Standards are not a testing regime. Blending the lines reinforces misinformation and creates greater frustration and confusion for parents. A post by the Collaborative for Student Success this spring explains:


“Common Core is not a test. [It] is a set of academic standards. Every state has academic standards that they use to guide their curriculum development (which happens at the state or district level).”


On Our Reading List:

Portland, Beaverton Reject Mainstream Series, Forge Own Approaches / The Oregonian

At the urging of teachers Oregon’s largest school district rejected offerings from major publishers and instead to combine elements from five companies to create a unique reading and writing curriculum. Those schools will use the “Units of Study in Reading,” which will be implemented this summer. Most the so-called mainstream options failed to broadly include cultural minorities or portrayed them in stereotypical ways, said one state educator on the decision. “It is very much based on the interests of the kids,” says Elizabeth Skorohodov, a kindergarten teacher. “It’s highly engaging, and all my students are seeing themselves as readers and writers.”