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PARCC Assessments: UDL and Accessibility Features

PARCC Assessments: UDL and Accessibility Features | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

The PARRC, a standardized test aligned to the Common Core, includes embedded scaffolds and accessibility features “allowable for all students” (p.20) in addition to accommodations for students with disabilities. Taken together, these supports ensure the test is universally designed for everyone, which leaves no one behind.


Via Mel Riddile
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Thank you Katie for addressing the UDL aspects of PARCC assessment in your blog. As far as special education students are addressed, teachers should not make any assumptions. A closer reading of the actual accommodations makes clear that some testing accommodations must be addressed in a student's IEP as well as part of day-to-day instruction. Teachers will need to verify what the IEP clearly states and what the assessment offers.

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What this spring’s Common Core tests promised, and what they will actually deliver - The Hechinger Report

What this spring’s Common Core tests promised, and what they will actually deliver - The Hechinger Report | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
New Common Core tests are debuting on time this spring, but after years of bruising attacks from both left and right, the groups tapped by the federal government to build them are struggling to meet all the hype. Back in 2010, the plans for the new exams were introduced with much fanfare and many promises: …
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

As the article states, "None of us have really seen PARCC and Smarter Balanced or the ACT tests for that matter, we dont' know whether they will be better or worse." I am taking a wait-and-see stance, what else can we do. There are certain things within our control and there are many things...well, we just are not in a position to change.

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What are the most challenging Common Core standards? | eSchool News | eSchool News

What are the most challenging Common Core standards? | eSchool News | eSchool News | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Can educators and stakeholders identify, and spend more time on, the Common Core standards that prove most challenging for students?


The most challenging standards are those that require synthesis skills, including those related to:
• Determining central ideas or themes and summarizing details
• Analyzing text structure
• Integrating and evaluating content in diverse media and formats
• Analyzing similar topics and themes across texts

In math, students included in the research find the standards that require deeper conceptual understanding to be the most challenging. They include standards related to:
• Geometric measurement
• Modeling problem situations
• Fractions

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Now we have data to support what we knew from the start...

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Moral facts and the Common Core | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Just when you thought we’d run out of things to blame on the standards. Kathleen Porter-Magee...

"In a piece penned for the New York Time's Opinionator blog, philosophy professor James P. McBrayer laments that, according to his informal survey of fellow college professors, 'the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.'


"While popular opinion might suggest that this is a fault of academe, McBrayer argues that students are indoctrinated with moral relativism beginning with the way they are taught about fact and opinion in grade school. In short, he argues that the way schools teach fact and opinion ensures that a morally relativistic view prevails. 'Our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions,' McBrayer argues, 'and that all value claims fall into the latter category.'

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I so appreciate Kathleen Porter-Magee's writing and perspective. Yes, the Common Core clearly allows for the evaluation of facts, opinions and reasoned judgement otherwise known as moral facts or value claims as prudent aspects in the analysis of an argument. Where McBrayer goes astray is in assuming a for-profit company speaks for the Common Core. Just because a company bears the words "Common Core..." in their title does not mean they were directly handed the golden tablet. Once again, where an individual would have done more service to their own understanding of the standards by working to understanding them through reading, McBrayer went outside the standards for information. 


Actually, the Common Core Institute has a new name and new look: "C2 Collaborative, Inc. is a leading K-12 education technology and services company committed to connecting educators to 21st century teaching strategies using new technologies, research, curriculum building and lesson planning tools, and best practices to support and guide schools and districts" (About the Company).

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Find Reports - EdReports.org

Find Reports - EdReports.org | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
"The analysis of K-8 math textbooks and online materials by EdReports.org marks the first time there has been an independent, educator-led, and public 'Consumer Reports-style' review of the alignment and quality of materials intended for our nation's classrooms. It gives teachers, curriculum specialists, and other local educators the information they need to help make informed decisions about the materials they use in the classroom, and is beginning to introduce on a large scale 'smart demand' into the selection of textbooks and other instructional materials. 

"The results of the review show just how important this step is. Almost 5 years after the adoption of the Common Core State Standards it is quite obvious that textbooks and curricular materials produced by major publishers are severely lacking in alignment to the standards that educators in over 40 states will use in their classrooms next year. This isn't a new problem, though; the production of textbooks and curricular materials was often driven by larger states with more purchasing power and singular textbooks that covered multiple state standards. 
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

These are the just the types of reviews we have been needing to guide the selection of textbooks in American schools.

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Study: Twitter Discourse Reveals Deeper Rifts on Common Core

Study: Twitter Discourse Reveals Deeper Rifts on Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Researchers found that while social media gave parents a bigger voice in the debate, it also led to a "proxy war" over common standards.


"Roughly 40 percent of the most prolific tweeters were not education professionals. These included parents, such as user Lani @formerbondgirl, who decided to home school her children rather than enroll them in a public school implementing the standards."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An interesting study...but the results further reinforce my personal thinking. The anti #CommonCore forces are not educators; rather, they are political entities and parents, many ill-informed, driving their own personal agenda rather than looking out for the greater good. 

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, March 5, 10:38 AM

An interesting study...but the results further reinforce my personal thinking. The anti #CommonCore forces are not educators; rather, they are political entities and parents, many ill-informed, driving their own personal agenda rather than looking out for the greater good. 

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Common Core’s unintended consequence? - The Hechinger Report

Common Core’s unintended consequence? - The Hechinger Report | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

According to many teachers, experts and advocates of the Common Core, traditional curriculum sources haven’t been meeting the demands of the new set of math and English standards that have been rolled out in more than 40 states in the past few years. More and more teachers are scrapping off-the-shelf lessons and searching for replacements on the Internet or writing new curriculum materials themselves.



"The Center on Education Policy (CEP), a nonpartisan research group, reports that in roughly two-thirds of districts in Common Core states, teachers have developed or are developing their own curricular materials in math (66 percent) and English Language Arts (65 percent). In more than 80 percent of districts, the CEP found that at least one source for curriculum materials was local — from teachers, the district itself or other districts in the state.


"Soon-to-be-published research conducted by William Schmidt and the Center for the Study of Curriculum at Michigan State University seems to confirm teachers’ predicament. “We looked at 35 of the most commonly used [math] series that are out there in the field right now, used by about half of the kids in the country,” said Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Education Policy Center. “Most of these materials don’t line up, and when you look at an individual set of materials, as much as half of the book might not be relevant to the standards at that grade level.”

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An excellent source for teachers not mentioned in this article is that provided through Achieve the Core and the Achieve EQuIP Exemplars. Although I support Teachers Pay Teachers and have items for sale on that website myself, (Doctor Dea's TpT Store) although my items are tools to create units and units themselves.


The benefits of the EQuIP exemplar are twofold: they have been written by educators and reviewed through a rigorous process to determine alignment with the standards. Lesson available on TpT or Basal Alignment Project have not been scrutinized and evaluated against a Common Core measurement tool. Regardless, be sure to check out the links provided. 

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, March 2, 1:01 PM

An excellent source for teachers not mentioned in this article is that provided through Achieve the Core and the Achieve EQuIP Exemplars. Although I support Teachers Pay Teachers and have items for sale on that website myself, (Doctor Dea's TpT Store) although my items are tools to create units and units themselves.


The benefits of the EQuIP exemplar are twofold: they have been written by educators and reviewed through a rigorous process to determine alignment with the standards. Lesson available on TpT or Basal Alignment Project have not been scrutinized and evaluated against a Common Core measurement tool. Regardless, be sure to check out the links provided. 

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Can gifted education survive the Common Core? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Previous research by Fordham and others has made clear that the pre-Common Core era has not done well by high achievers in the United States. Almost all the policy attention has been on low achievers, and, in fact, they’ve made faster gains on measures such as NAEP than have their high-achieving classmates. Gifted children, in our view, have generally been short-changed in recent years by American public education, even as the country has awakened to their potential contributions to our economic competitiveness and technological edge. It would therefore be a terrible mistake for the new Common Core standards, praiseworthy as we believe they are, to become a justification for even greater neglect.Higher standards are no excuse to ditch gifted services. Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Amber M. Northern, Ph.D.

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ACT Names Marten Roorda Next CEO

"During his 12-year tenure at Cito, Roorda led the $100 million organization with 600 employees to international recognition for its work in learning analytics and adaptive testiDng. Roorda is also the longest-serving member of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Board of Directors.


"Roorda said, “Globally, the landscape of assessment is changing. There is a spirited debate about the meaning of testing for society. These changes offer organizations such as ACT opportunities to align the needs of their customers with the exciting innovations that are taking place in our field.


"Retiring CEO, Jon Whitmore, stated, “During my five years at ACT, two of our most important priorities have been internationalism and innovation. With Marten Roorda’s selection, I’m pleased we will continue to move forward in these areas, while at the same time building on our unrivaled reputation for excellence in assessment.”

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I will be interested to see what further changes may come to ACT testing with this new leadership. Over the last five years, we have clearly seen ACT go after a global market while, interestingly, embrace the Common Core State Standards here at home. Have you looked at ACT's CCRS lately? Check them out for alignment to Common Core.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, March 2, 11:49 AM

I will be interested to see what further changes may come to ACT testing with this new leadership. Over the last five years, we have clearly seen ACT go after a global market while, interestingly, embrace the Common Core State Standards here at home. Have you looked at ACT's CCRS lately? Check them out for alignment to Common Core.

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Testing based on Common Core standards starts this week - US News

Testing based on Common Core standards starts this week - US News | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

STOCKPORT, Ohio (AP) — On Tuesday, Ohio will be the first to administer one of two tests in English language arts and math based on the Common Core standards developed by two separate groups of states. By the end of the school year, about 12 million children in 29 states and the District of Columbia will take them, using computers or electronic tablets.

"The exams are expected to be more difficult than the traditional spring standardized state exams they replace. In some states, they'll require hours of additional testing time because students will have to do more than just fill in the bubble. The goal is to test students on critical thinking skills, requiring them to describe their reasoning and solve problems.

"The tests have multimedia components, written essays and multi-step calculations needed to solve math problems that go beyond just using rote memory. Students in some states will take adaptive versions in which questions get harder or easier depending on their answers...."


But there's been controversy.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

These assessments had promised quick turnaround on testing results...assessments completed on a computer were to have data available as quickly as 24-48 hours. Now I read fall results? What happened?

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How the Common Core Frustrates Suburban Parents

How the Common Core Frustrates Suburban Parents | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"Ultimately, the blurring between Common Core fact and fiction reveals a major flaw in the implementation of the program. No one group or individual took the lead in informing parents what the standards actually look like in the classroom and how it would affect their kids. Without political and education leaders providing valid, fact-based justifications for the new testing system and a clear, jargon-free explanation of new teaching strategies, suburban parents are easily influenced by others.

"Parents need to understand why a new universal set of standards is important, particularly parents in good school districts where schools are working well. They need to know how their kids will benefit from this program—and if their kids won’t benefit, parents need to know why these test results serve the larger public good, that they can help shape policies that will help others. Parents need to know that their kids will continue to be graded based on their teachers’ assessments and that the tests really serve to provide data for administrators and political leaders who can set policies based on students’ overall performance. Parents need to know how the Common Core differs from previous state curricula and how it will affect their kids on a daily basis. Simple facts—that the Common Core does not prescribe certain textbooks, for example—would go a long way in dispelling confusion...."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Change is hard, especially for those who haven't really been following what is about to happen--the assessment of Common Core Standards which have been in place throughout the country for four years. Parents believe in their schools and that belief has left them a bit uninformed about the upcoming assessment. Why? Because for the most part, teachers were uninformed about the assessment. And for that, they are not to blame. States were bouncing around like ping-pong balls trying to decide to go PARCC, SBAC, Aspire, or write their own assessment. Heck, some states still haven't decided what to do. And in that, someone forgot to invite the parents to the party. 

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, February 16, 5:38 PM

Parents are worried about the amount of time testing will take because for many, this is the first time anyone has ever made such a big deal over a practice that has been going on for YEARS!

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Is Common Core too hard for kindergarten? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Is Common Core too hard for kindergarten? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"There’s no reason to think that Common Core’s literacy benchmarks are too hard for kindergarten. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, two out of three kindergarteners already recognize the letters of the alphabet, both in upper and lower cases, when they enter kindergarten—and that’s one of the “foundational skills” expected under Common Core. (Parents would surely be alarmed if, by the end of kindergarten, their kids did not know their ABCs.) A similar number (61 percent) come into kindergarten with two or more Common Core “print concepts” under their cognitive belts, such as knowing that English text is read from left to right and from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Most of the individual kindergarten reading standards say that small children should be able to demonstrate skills such as answering questions or retelling key details about a story “with prompting and support.” When you ask your child a question such as “What do you think will happen next?” while reading out loud from Goodnight Moon or Make Way for Ducklings, that’s offering “prompting and support.” There’s no suggestion in Common Core that children should meet these standards as independent readers during or at the end of kindergarten.There’s no such thing as too much, too soon in reading...." Robert Pondiscio

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In some areas, my children made faster progress outside of school. I remember by daughter asking me what my brain was thinking as we watched the Chinese Geese slip into the open water surrounded by the drifts of frozen snow. A kindergartener, she told me the water must be warmer than sitting on the ice--and frankly, I'd never even considered the thought. But you know what? She was intuitively right....we don't give children enough credit for their curiosity and problem solving skills. There is no such thing as learning too much or too soon, period.

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The Common Core Just Might be the Greatest (or Worst) Thing to Happen to DLLs - EdCentral

The Common Core Just Might be the Greatest (or Worst) Thing to Happen to DLLs - EdCentral | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"

Indeed, the promise of the CCSS for DLLs rests partly on their emphasis of language. Experts like Temple University’s Carol Scheffner Hammer report that these students need far more targeted language instruction than they usually receive in U.S. schools. According to a brief by DLL advocacy coalitionCalifornians Together, the CCSS provide many potential opportunities for these students. Specifically, language development is emphasized across the standards. In particular, they require teachers to target students’ vocabulary and oral language development and build greater understanding of literacy and language.

In addition, the standards’ focus on collaboration, active engagement and inquiry could encourage DLLs to interact more frequently with peers in academic conversations and support integration of what the coalition calls “the 4C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.” As a result, some school districts are paying increased attention to the development of DLLs’ oral academic language."

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EQuIP Call to Action

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Achieve is looking for educators and curriculum developers to submit units that focus on the areas identified by experts and practitioners:

  • Speaking and Listening:  Grades 2 – 5
  • Supports for English Learners:  Grades 2 – 5
  • Topical Reading and Writing:  Grades 4 – 8

Open the PDF for details on specific standards and outcomes desired.

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How Bobby Jindal might circumvent Louisiana's education committees on Common Core

How Bobby Jindal might circumvent Louisiana's education committees on Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

The Louisiana Legislature's education committees were expected to be a major roadblock in Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to get the state out of using Common Core. Last year, anti-Common Core legislation the governor backed failed to get out of either the House or Senate Education...


"Much of the governor's proposal is aimed at weakening the powers given to Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as state education officials like Superintendent John White.


"Those parts of the bills have more do with government processes than education policy. They likely would never been given to the education committee.  


"For example, Jindal has proposed putting new restrictions on the type of contracts and professional relationships the state school board and education officials can have with outside groups."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Unfortunate that leadership has decided to circumvent those assigned to review and process education decisions in order to expedite personal will and exercise political power.

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S.C. education committee OK’s standards to replace Common Core

S.C. education committee OK’s standards to replace Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The S.C. Education Oversight Committee adopted new education standards for math and English to replace Common Core Monday.

First-grade reading standard

•  Common Core requires students to “ask and answer questions about key details in a text.”

•  S.C.’s new standards ask students to “ask and answer who, what, when, where, why and how questions to demonstrate understanding of a text” and to “use key details to make inferences and draw conclusions in texts heard or read.”

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Okay...so they've written their own standards and based on the brief example above...I see a first grade standard in SC using the language of the 2nd grade standard in the Common Core. Congratulations, South Carolina. You've taken rigor to the next level. The problem will be...getting first grader to ask and answer questions about key details in a text...independently. I can't tell you how many 1st grade teachers shared their stories of struggling with this skill...and when I told them to read the second grade standard, they were relieved. Probably, though, not in SC. 

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States Raise Proficiency Standards in Math and Reading: Commitments to Common Core may be driving the proficiency bar upward

States Raise Proficiency Standards in Math and Reading: Commitments to Common Core may be driving the proficiency bar upward | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Commitments to Common Core may be driving the proficiency bar upward
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Though standard's rigor has risen over the last several years, there remains some concern that exemptions to NCLB mandates may cause improvement to plateau. An interesting report worth your time to read.

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Is Civics Education a Lost Cause? Not to Some Foundations - Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence - Inside Philanthropy

Is Civics Education a Lost Cause? Not to Some Foundations - Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence - Inside Philanthropy | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
With all of the attention paid by policymakers and funders to reading and math standards (Common C...
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Sample Student Assessment Reports

Sample Student Assessment Reports | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Achieve offers a variety of educational resources that are free for the taking...and editable. From units through EQuIP to assessments and...reporting forms for families & parents. Check them out!
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As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
On Monday, many public school students in New Jersey will begin to take standardized tests that are opposed by an unusually diverse coalition of enemies.
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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, March 2, 12:23 PM

More than any other statewide assessment, PARCC is facing opposition in this quasi-movement to "opt-out" of Federally mandated testing. I'm truly without explanation for why PARCC is facing greater push-back than other assessments that are also new and untried: SBAC, ACT's Aspire, the AIR assessments. All of assessments tied to the Common Core are new--because the Common Core has not been tested statewide in the past. But statewide annual tests are nothing new--the only "new" aspect about these tests is that they are tied to the standards. And yet this year...parents, superintendents, principals and political groups are pushing back. Where was this push-back when assessment was tied only to test-makers' achievement design and not associated with what kids were supposed to be learning according to written and adopted standards? 

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Common Core and America’ High-Achieving Students

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Good points made here: 

1. Common Core is no excuse to ditch gifted services.

2. State and local officials should get rid of policies that hurt gifted students and strengthen those that help them.

3. Schools should work harder to make differentiation “real.”

4. Schools should make use of existing high-quality materials that help teachers adapt the Common Core for gifted students.

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A Compendium of Research on the Common Core State Standards, by Matthew Frizzell and Tara Dunderdale at the Center on Education Policy

A Compendium of Research on the Common Core State Standards, by Matthew Frizzell and Tara Dunderdale at the Center on Education Policy | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
A Compendium of Research on the Common Core State Standards, a report by by Matthew Frizzell and Tara Dunderdale at the Center on Education Policy in Washington, DC, USA

Via Darren Burris
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Lead writer responds to common Common Core English gripes - The Hechinger Report

Lead writer responds to common Common Core English gripes - The Hechinger Report | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Q: As you were crafting the standards, what were the biggest issues in English and Language Arts education?

A: "Our charge was to use evidence from college faculty and employers to find the gap between students graduating from high school and students who were ready for college and the workplace on day one. We found there was about a four-year gap between the level of students graduating from high school and the requirements of college and the workplace. In college and on the job, you are asked a question and you are expected to support your answer with evidence. But we found that in order to answer about 30 to 70 percent of questions in high school textbooks students didn’t have to read the text. Many state assessments have questions like “Who is your hero?”, “Tell us about your summer,” or “What is your favorite place to go?” There is nothing wrong with those questions, but in those situations we ask students to do something we would never want them to do on the job – answer questions without having read anything."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

We don't often hear from the Common Core authors...and when we do...listening or in this case, reading,  might be in order. 

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One size fits most, even in the suburbs | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

One size fits most, even in the suburbs | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Last week, writer Laura McKenna took to the Atlantic to try to understand why some suburban moms (many of them white) have turned against the Common Core. She settles on misinformation as a driving force, which is certainly a factor.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Seems Mike Petrilli has taken the lyrics to Frozen's cover song literally: "Let it go, let it go...can't hold it back anymore..." In this article, he advances a radical thought, " we should allow [suburban moms] to opt their kids out of traditional public schools and into schools (including charters) that are proudly progressive...." Petrilli asserts ..."most of the 'white suburban moms' who oppose Common Core also share a romantic, progressive view of education that is at odds with traditional schooling in general. We will never convince them of Common Core’s value, nor should we expect to."

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The New York Times or The Onion? "Is Your First Grader College Ready?"

The New York Times or The Onion?  "Is Your First Grader College Ready?" | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"I have a suggestion that would do a lot more for the first graders described in the Times article than a “cut and paste worksheet” describing the steps to get into college.  Give every kid in that class a good set of plain Legos, some dolls, and other toys that promote unstructured, creative PLAY — let them negotiate and explore their SIX YEAR OLD MINDS.  There will be plenty of time to stress them out and confuse them in only two more years when they take their third grade PARCC or SBAC examinations...."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Yes, most college Freshman are the children of parents who themselves attended college, so I understand that to promote the ideas of college and concepts of collegiate success, schools need to fill the void of that possibility in the minds of those kids who don't have parents who attended college. We do need to talk to our kids about what they want to be when they grow up...even as early as five or six. That talk stretches their imagination and gives them freedom of expression avoiding such talk limits. I don't care if the talk is frivolous...frivolity is a good thing! On the other hand, I know many adults who can date the decision of their own professions having come at an early age...as early as six or seven...and my own children are among them.

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Moving from Content to Standards: Today! | Partner in Education

Moving from Content to Standards: Today! | Partner in Education | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

As a teacher of English in a high school of around 1800 students, I was privileged to work with true professionals and a diverse student population. Through that work, we wrote and won grants to support standards based instruction and integrated curricula. Today's budgetary constraints keep too many teachers from doing the good they would like to do...but by adopting standards based classrooms, I believe they can teach kids disciplinary concepts, tools, and approaches or skills that will take them much further than simple recall of vocabulary definitions, formulaic tricks, facts and minutia. My student's note to me is a testimony to this truth.    

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