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Prose over verse - The Hindu

Prose over verse - The Hindu | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Hindu
Prose over verse
The Hindu
And though there were extraordinary achievements in many prose forms (letters, memoir, essays, drama), Tagore's most comprehensive achievement was, perhaps, his novels.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I once co-taught a high school English class with a social studies colleague. Focusing on the two disciplines, we decided to study the work of Nobel Prize Winners along with the standard fare of our anthology: one prize winner each each quarter. The students learned about literature and about a world far different from their own. So did I!

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Five close reading myths debunked

Five close reading myths debunked | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

1. It diminishes the joy of reading. One of the things we love about reading is how layered the text is. If you don’t understand what’s going on in a text, it’s just less engaging. What practitioners have found is close reading can become as engaging as a video game, as students look at the vocabulary or patterns of words, at the structure and plot elements. It’s really that deep engagement that brings joy to the reading process. It becomes like a treasure hunt—in a good wa


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

Appreciate this post. Indeed, the purposes of close reading dictate the way one close reads. If one is looking between texts, of course one reads beyond the four corners of the page (as some have come to call the text). And if one is reading for historical contextualization, of course background knowledge is essential. Actually, background knowledge is always essential...I can't read if I don't use what I know about the most simple word or grammatical structure/usage. Actually, we did close reading in my own school experience and even William Wordsworth comments on it in his 1798 poem, "The Tables Turned."

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Developmentally Appropriate Practice and the Common Core State Standards: Framing the Issues

This brief considers how implementation of the Common Core State Standards aligns with developmentally appropriate practice (DAP).
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Traction Limited in Rolling Back Common Core

Traction Limited in Rolling Back Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Foes of the Common Core State Standards hoped this would be their year in state legislatures, but so far they have little to boast about.

For many foes of the Common Core State Standards, this was supposed to be the year their advocacy and passion would translate into victories.

Emboldened by last year's experience, when three states—Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina—decided to at least nominally reject the common core, opponents of the standards aimed to keep the ball rolling in the 2015 state legislative season.

But with the clock ticking on many of those sessions, the opponents have little to cheer about so far.

To date, 19 states this year have considered bills to repeal the common core, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures—but none has adopted such legislation. In Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, repeal proposals have lost what amounted to do-or-die votes, while states including Mississippi andWest Virginia have changed repeal proposals into legislation requiring a review of the standards instead.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

As state colleges and universities begin to accept not only the Common Core but also the associated Common Core assessments, PARCC, SBAC, and the revised ACT and SAT tests, the talk of Common Core repeal will fall into the history books and be forgotten.

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COMMON CORE GOES TO COLLEGE: Building Better Connections Between High School and Higher Education

A 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that only the English and mathematics portions of the ACT are predictive of college success, while the other two subject area tests provide little additional predictive power.22 There are lingering questions about the predictive power of the SAT test as well—oddly enough, a 2008 College Board Research Report indicated that the Writing section of the SAT (which is being discontinued) is more predictive of first year college GPA than either the English or math sections, while high school GPA has higher predictive power than all three. 


Moreover, a 2014 report released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling found that there is “virtually no difference” between the academic performance of students who submitted ACT or SAT scores and those who did not submit them.24 Questions about the utility of these assessments, which currently guide student transition into higher education, were being posed as the testing industry gained two new entrants, PARCC and Smarter Balanced.


More recently, ACT has also announced changes to its high school assessment. The mathematics subject area test will provide a slightly greater emphasis on statistics and probability and, for the first time, the reading test will include comprehension questions based on comparing or using information from two different texts (these skills are prominent within the Common Core standards). Additionally, student score reports will contain significantly more information: students will receive a “STEM” score (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), a composite of the math and science subject area test scores; an English language score, a composite of English, reading and writing scores; a “progress toward career-readiness” score that indicates readiness for different kinds of work; a “text complexity progress indicator” based upon scores on all written responses; and further indicators on the optional writing test, including scores on ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use.


While these additional data will be provided to students, the changes to the test itself are minor. The SAT is undergoing a more substantive alteration. The new SAT will do away with the obscure vocabulary and reasoning questions that until now have been a hallmark of the test. They will be replaced with greater attention to content mastery. In a speech in March, David Coleman, president of the College Board and architect of the Common Core standards, elaborated further: “Admissions officers and counselors find the data from admissions exams useful, but are concerned that these exams have become disconnected from the work of high school classrooms.”


As he stated just before assuming his current role, “The Common Core provides substantial opportunity to make the SAT even more reflective of what higher education wants.”


Unfortunately for both the SAT and ACT, the Common Core standards have also provided the opportunity for several new entrants to the assessment market, ones that will be deeply connected with the work of high school classrooms throughout the country. Unlike these old incumbent tests, the Common Core assessments will be intentionally designed with the Common Core standards in mind.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

A good read, this publication provides both a historical look at ACT & SAT testing in the US as well as a look ahead to the work of PARCC and SBAC. Additionally, it provides significant data reports regarding state's use of SAT and ACT data. The implications of ACT and SAT assessment data are far beyond mere college course placement.  

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Statewide testing must go hand in hand with investment in our teachers

Statewide testing must go hand in hand with investment in our teachers | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Measuring student results is critical, but it’s not a solution in itself.

The debate about the role of testing in schools is loud and divisive—and too often, we’re presented with the false choice of either measuring our students’ progress or developing teachers and students to make that progress. The truth is, our country needs to do both. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), long overdue for reauthorization, is a part of getting there. ESEA is neither a silver bullet nor an end in itself for the nation’s goals, but it will help us toward the educational equity and excellence that our children so sorely need.

Much of the debate around ESEA hinges on measurement: the way we track schools’ and students’ success. Students, families, and educators are living this right now—spring is the season of standardized tests. It’s far from a perfect system: Children feel defined by their bubble-sheets, and teachers feel the sting of having their own—and their students’—progress represented by numbers, when so many strengths can’t be measured in multiple choice.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

There you have it...even Teach for America supports annual testing. I rest my case.

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Partisanship and public opinion on the Common Core

Partisanship and public opinion on the Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
West and Henderson summarize recent survey results regarding the public’s opinion and knowledge of the Common Core, and examine the role that partisanship plays in shaping public opinion on the standards.

The Education Next poll revealed partisan polarization and widespread misperception, as well.  In the 2013 Education Next Poll, Common Core gathered backers from across the political spectrum. By 2014, support among Republicans fell from 57 percent to 43 percent, even as support among Democrats remained nearly unchanged (64 percent in 2013 and 63 percent in 2014). That year, the majority of respondents were misinformed on several important elements of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Barely more than one third said it was false that the federal government requires all states to use the Common Core standards (it does not), just 15 percent said it was false that the federal government will receive detailed data on the test performance of individual students in participating states (it will not), and fewer than half said it was true that states and local school districts can decide which textbooks to use under Common Core (they can). 

How does public opinion and understanding change when Common Core becomes a highly visible focal point—as has been the case in Louisiana? The extra attention given to the issue by political leaders and the press does not appear to resolve debates into consensus or clear up public confusion. If anything, it is quite the opposite. 

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

The polls in this article are interesting and as the introduction says, disappointing. Overall, it seems that respondents want higher standards and want those standards shared across states. However, the mere addition of the word "common" moves positive responses to a negative position. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

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Parents Should Welcome the New Common Core Tests

Parents Should Welcome the New Common Core Tests | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Ignore the left- and right-wing noise machines: the new tests being introduced to kids across the country are valuable.


Succeeding in the 21st century requires competence in reading, writing, and math as well as analyzing and problem solving. That’s true whether you’re headed for a skilled trade or a career that requires a Bachelor’s or graduate degree. And knowing annually whether students are track in these core areas is critical to their ability to achieve their dreams.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, April 10, 10:23 AM

I'm concerned about the growing "opt-out" movement of parents related to annual testing. Last week in traveling, I coincidentally found myself seated next to an Illinois principal from an affluent school district on spring break. 25% of his students had opted out of PARCC testing--his surprise, they were children of the most affluent parents. I need to write an Op-Ed on this topic but searching for the time...so let me bounce this off of you. Among my concerns is that for many, many years all students have been required to set through annual assessments. Special education students with disabilities significantly limiting their cognitive abilities to read and process were painfully forced to sit through assessments even though the outcomes were already known. Now, in this opt-out movement, affluent parents are choosing not to have their children sit through assessments because they don't like a test they've never seen or they think there is too much testing going on.

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Testimony of Achieve President Michael Cohen to the Indiana House Education Committee

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In his testimony, Cohen demystifies many points that states seem to be wrestling with as they argue the validity of consortia assessment. No other assessments were directly written in relation to the standards; they were only tweaked. Even those that were tweaked do not demand the kind of writing the standards direct. And, if states allow a testing company to dictate assessed items, how is that any closer to local control of assessment? A good read!

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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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5 Strategies for SPED Success with Common Core

5 Strategies for SPED Success with Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it


Handle tasks head-on to speed student success. By Christine Fax-Huckaby

"As the Common Core State Standards have been implemented this school year, with many states in the midst of using the new standardized tests, the transition has been mired in challenges. The Common Core is a critical step toward ensuring students have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life beyond graduation, but teachers and students alike have been apprehensive and overwhelmed. They need greater support, more empathy, and better communication from school and district leaders to help them overcome their anxiety.

This anxiety is even more prevalent in the special education community, and as a special education academic support teacher, it’s my job to make sure teachers and students in my district are as prepared for Common Core as possible. Here’s what’s working well in our district:"


Via Mel Riddile
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DAP and the Common Core State Standards: Framing the Issues

NAEYC's Executive Director, Rhian Evans Allvin discusses the new white paper, Developmentally Appropriate Practice and the Common Core State Standards: ...
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The 3 Keys to the PARCC ELA Assessment

The 3 Keys to the PARCC ELA Assessment | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
If you’re currently teaching the Common Core ELA Standards, you’re already teaching students to think critically and to look at building their reading and writing skills in new ways.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This article provides a simple look at the PARCC assessment plan.

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Sharing Common Core Lessons: Achieve (EQuIP) Partners with Teaching Channel

Sharing Common Core Lessons: Achieve (EQuIP) Partners with Teaching Channel | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Teaching Channel and Achieve.org partnered on a three-part series featuring EQuIP’s (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products) tools for Common Core lesson planning.


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

June 1st is the next deadline for submitting your unit or multi-day lesson to Achieve and have a chance to be awarded $1500.00. Check out the call for now--you may have the perfect lesson already designed!

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Common-Core Alignment Tool: Looking at Grade-Level Textbooks

Common-Core Alignment Tool: Looking at Grade-Level Textbooks | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The toolkit for determining whether publishers' instructional materials are aligned to the Common Core State Standards has grown once again.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This week I've been working on the CDE 2015 ELA/ELD Materials Review for fall adoption. California has done yeoman's labor in developing a framework for reviewing and evaluating textbooks and entire programs around the #CCSS and their own English Language Development Framework. Most states have nothing like this in place to support district decisions. Good effort.  

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Across the U.S., Tens of Thousands of Students Are Refusing to Take Standardized Tests

Across the U.S., Tens of Thousands of Students Are Refusing to Take Standardized Tests | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The opt-out movement is gaining traction throughout the country—and now it's being largely driven by kids.
    • State officials and district administrators, education advocacy groups and test proponents appeared completely unprepared for the protests in New Jersey and elsewhere. Schools scrambled to find separate rooms and teachers so that they could monitor both test takers and non-test takers (assuming the latter weren’t off somewhere eating bagels). Some schools were said to tell parents that the non-testing children should stay at home during the exam. Districts across the country embroiled in opt-out movements had to develop policies on the fly in a few short weeks before test day; some are still trying to come up with a game plan.
    • As these problems unfolded, education leaders failed to put forward one concise justification for these tests. Some emphasized that the time had come for a new assessment because the old ones were too easy; harder tests would force improvement in mediocre school districts. Others said that the new version would provide parents with better information about a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Still others said the test generated nationwide data on schools that could then be used to better inform public policy. But many parents said they heard nothing informative enough to change their minds.
    • Under No Child Left Behind, schools where at least 5 percent of the students fail to participate in testing face sanctions from the federal government, even theoretically losing Title I funding for low-income students. They may also be sanctioned by their states, which could mean increased monitoring by Department of Education bureaucrats. And of course, the opt-outs could also distort a school's overall score for student proficiency, making it seem more or less effective than it actually is. At this time, the long-term ramifications from this unprecedented protest are unclear.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This opt-out stance is beyond my comprehension. Students have been taking mandatory tests in schools since the dawn of time. That is how educators get a sense of what kids know and what teachers are teaching. Okay, so not all tests are perfect, but the newest assessments and those most closely related to what SHOULD BE happening in schools today are the very tests that are being opposed. Would parents rather be in the dark. Instead of opting their children out of tests, perhaps parents should be opting themselves into support roles with homework and learning. Life doesn't get easier.

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Teaching the Core

Teaching the Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core resources produced on the Teaching the Core website were made possible by a generous grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.


Teaching the Core, a website showcasing videos and lesson materials to help teachers implement the CCSS, has released more than 60 video exemplars featuring real teachers and students executing CCSS-aligned lessons. Expert reviewers have annotated the videos to highlight teacher actions and lesson elements that support CCSS learning. Additionally, each exemplar includes a set of lesson materials, examples of student work, and an interview with the teacher featured in the video.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I always find that teachers value actually seeing instruction--these videos are highly supportive. I would also suggest they be shared with parents in order that they, too, learn more about the standards and techniques to teach the standards that are driving their children's educations.

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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.