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A response to Gary Rubinstein

A response to Gary Rubinstein | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"I appreciate your comments about my various blog posts. We take our role as “Education Gadfly” very seriously at Fordham. We are fortunate—thanks to our mission, our fantastic board, and our endowment, which gives us a measure of independence—that we can feel uninhibited to raise the red flag when we see reforms going awry. I would be bored to death if I had to stick to talking points.

Thankfully, we’re not the only ones willing to speak honestly about problems as they arise. I think a fair-minded observer would see that the vast majority of “reformers”—especially those of us in think-tank land—engage in regular, open debate about the right way forward. It’s hard for folks in elected or appointed positions to do so, but that’s true regardless of which side of the issue you’re on. Frankly, I see reformers conceding ground and acknowledging different viewpoints much more frequently than I do the reform critics. When was the last time Diane Ravitch or Karen Lewis said something like, “You know, the reformers have a point that it’s too hard to fire bad teachers.” Or, “Clearly they want to provide opportunity to low-income children; we just disagree about how to do that.” I don’t think they’ve ever said such things. Ever. Why don’t responsible people on “your side” give them grief about that?"

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Balanced response to the repetitive drum beats of those opposed to Common Core, those who often fight for mediocre standards and watered down assessments that were the measure of achievement prior to Common Core adoption in 2010. Though many educators are really not aware of the weaknesses inherent in their old state standards and the low quality of many state assessments, lack of their knowledge didn't make the standards any less effective and success on watered down assessments does not show achievement.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, May 20, 2014 1:27 PM

Balanced response to the repetitive drum beats of those opposed to Common Core, those who often fight for mediocre standards and watered down assessments that were the measure of achievement prior to Common Core adoption in 2010. Though many educators are really not aware of the weaknesses inherent in their old state standards and the low quality of many state assessments, lack of their knowledge didn't make the standards any less effective and success on watered down assessments does not show achievement. .  

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Students Understand Less When They Read From Computers, Says Research

Students Understand Less When They Read From Computers, Says Research | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
This piece comes to us courtesy of Education Week, where it was originally published.

Comprehension may suffer when students read on the digital devices now flooding into classrooms, an emerging body of research suggests.

In response, some aca...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Considering the move to computers and digital texts for assessment, one might want to note the results of research in regard to the benefits of such practice. On the other hand, standard assessments are not typically about learning though they measure comprehension. In my world, everything should and would be about learning--even and maybe especiall a test. 

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, May 19, 2014 10:50 AM

Considering the move to computers and digital texts for assessment, one might want to note the results of research in regard to the benefits of such practice. On the other hand, standard assessments are not typically about learning though they measure comprehension. In my world, everything should and would be about learning--even and maybe especiall a test.

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Top 10 Ways to Teach the Common Core ELA Standards

Top 10 Ways to Teach the Common Core ELA Standards | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Bringing the Common Core State Standards for ELA into the classroom may seem like a challenge. With the new shifts in ELA instruction and a wealth of standards, it’s hard to know where to begin. While they look intimidating, the Common Core ELA standards simply promote a comprehensive approach to ELA, focusing on the skills students need to be ready for college and their future careers. Keeping this focus in mind and incorporating a few key elements can make teaching the Common Core ELA standards much easier.

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On Rigor, Grit, Productive Struggle and What Our Word Choice Means

On Rigor, Grit, Productive Struggle and What Our Word Choice Means | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
As happened last year, many of the teachers, administrators and parents who left feedback on last month's English Language Arts test at testingtalk.org pointed to what they felt were questions that...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Word choice matters: always has; always will.
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Students give Common Core tests high marks

Students give Common Core tests high marks | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
In the first trial run, most students gave the controversial Common Core tests high marks and said the exams were easier or about the same as their current schoolwork, the …
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

As I have posted in the past, Louisiana Believes is a testament to the work Louisiana schools and teachers are doing to implement Common Core Standards. Teachers in Louisiana have worked hard to bring their instruction and student learning up the Common Core ladder. The survey from PARCC's trial run tends to indicate Louisiana teachers and students are doing a good job: "nearly 70 percent of students who answered said the PARCC tests were easier or about the same as their current schoolwork and nearly 85 percent said none or few questions touched on materials they had not discussed in class. The agency said nearly 78 percent of students favored the online assessments over paper and pencil. Both were used."

 

Why any state would kill educational progress before allowing time for the change to show the value of that change or lack of value of that change is a move by adults for adults and not a decision made with the good of tomorrow's children in mind.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, May 13, 2014 11:04 AM

As I have posted in the past, Louisiana Believes is a testament to the work Louisiana schools and teachers are doing to implement Common Core Standards. Teachers in Louisiana have worked hard to bring their instruction and student learning up the Common Core ladder. The survey from PARCC's trial run tends to indicate Louisiana teachers and students are doing a good job: "nearly 70 percent of students who answered said the PARCC tests were easier or about the same as their current schoolwork and nearly 85 percent said none or few questions touched on materials they had not discussed in class. The agency said nearly 78 percent of students favored the online assessments over paper and pencil. Both were used."

 

Why any state would kill educational progress before allowing time for the change to show the value of that change or lack of value of that change is a move by adults for adults and not a decision made with the good of tomorrow's children in mind.

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Shanahan on Literacy: Re-thinking Reading Interventions

Shanahan on Literacy: Re-thinking Reading Interventions | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Tim writes about a novel but doable idea. Why haven't elementary guided groups operated this way before? In some ways, I see this in high school--if teachers ARE supporting the reading of challenging texts. If not--high school teachers need to make more use of Socratic Seminars as reading facilitation discussions for those struggling with the complexities of secondary texts.
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Music, Art and Language Programs in Schools Have Long-Lasting Benefits - US News

Music, Art and Language Programs in Schools Have Long-Lasting Benefits - US News | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Subjects such as art, music and foreign languages have long-lasting benefits.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
I played an instrument in school--the saxophone--and for fun, continued to play into my 30s. I also learned a foreign language, French, as an adult in college, studying overseas in my mid-twenties. I can still play my horn and pick out main ideas in a French text. I have no doubt that both music and second language acquisition have impacted my brain in powerful and identifiable ways. More research is needed to save valuable programs in our schools and guarantees of balance learning for our kids!
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Common Core standards: A path to success for all students

Common Core standards:  A path to success for all students | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
By Brittany Morse I began my teaching career in a rural town in New Mexico on the border of a Navajo reservation and then went on to teach at two different charter schools in Boston.
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How Lucy Calkins, literacy guru and Fariña ally, is fighting to define Common Core teaching

How Lucy Calkins, literacy guru and Fariña ally, is fighting to define Common Core teaching | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Lucy Calkins, an influential Teachers College professor, has criticized some of the authors of the Common Core for influencing how […]

Via Darren Burris
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Reading this article brings my too oft used mantra: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." Both Calkins and Common Core have their strengths and weaknesses.

 

Although this article is primarily about reading, the conflicts between the Common Core and Lucy Calkins' work also extend into writing. Not necessarily for the means by which students are taught to write (Calkins is an advocate for the writing workshop--and so am I!) but for the value each level ascribe to various writing forms. Calkins puts more value in the personal narrative and poetry writing. The Common Core doesn't address creative writing and the personal narrative becomes less important as students mature.

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Common Core Confusion

Common Core Confusion | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Critics argue that the Common Core math curriculum is needlessly complicated.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Love the humor--hope you will too! BTW: identifying humor and analyzing how it is achieved is among the Common Core State ELA Standards. Do you know which one? 

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Creating Cross-Curricular Text Sets for the Middle Grades | MiddleWeb

Creating Cross-Curricular Text Sets for the Middle Grades | MiddleWeb | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Teacher educator Amanda Wall has preservice teachers creating themed text sets that can help deepen student learning across the middle grades curriculum.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Text sets are imperative for standards aligned instruction. This article shares a variety of middle school text set titles as well as offering tips of support on how to develop your own discipline related text sets.
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Common Core State Standards Assessments: Challenges and Opportunities (published April 2014)

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Appreciate the comment in the

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Education Week

Education Week | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

n research presented at the conference, the scholars aimed to identify who was benefiting financially—and how—from implementation, by identifying four main pathways for federal and philanthropic funding related to the standards. In three of the four pathways, the money was donated by philanthropies that ended up in the hands of nonprofit organizations that provided common-core-related resources or services either directly or indirectly to districts. The fourth path, exemplified by the federal Race to the Top program that offered incentives for states to adopt the standards, ended up in the hands of for-profit vendors whose services were purchased by districts.

"I'd like to draw a comparison between the common-core funding pathways and the 1849 gold rush," researchers stated. "When the gold rush began, prospectors sought their fortune in the West. But the journey required equipment and supplies to even get started. Whether or not the prospectors found gold, purveyors of pickaxes, maps, assay equipment, and salt pork stood to profit by selling their wares. In this analogy, schools are the prospectors."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Interesting report on current studies underway analyzing the progress and conduits of Common Core Implementation. As many of us know, some of the biggest winners are for-profit and not-for-profit entities. Leadership styles and their effect on implementation are also under study; hopefully, teachers and students will soon see the fruits of their labors.

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Defending the Common Core school standards

Defending the Common Core school standards | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
In 2010, a who's who of American educators and politicians joined forces to spearhead a national initiative with wide appeal and few if any critics. It was called the Common Core.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
This is a digital version of hand-clapping: \!/ in agreement. 'nough said!
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What Are Your Non-Negotiables?

What Are Your Non-Negotiables? | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core State Standards tell us what students should know and be able to do academically at the end of a school calendar year. They are, in essence, non-negotiables. But, what about you? What…
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

A good reminder for teachers that our job is to control that which is under our control: an environment for learning. The author of this blog notes his growth over the years, from viewing the classroom as a stage and his role of teacher as comedians or thespian to an encourager of learning and a willing participant in the journey.

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Tip #1 for Locating Paired Informational Texts for Instruction

Tip #1 for Locating Paired Informational Texts for Instruction | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Beginning in 2nd grade, the Common Core Reading Informational Standard 9 challenges students to be able to "compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic" ...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Many teachers struggle to find paired passages. Here are offered some tips.
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Common Core Writing Prompts Too Hard or Teaching & Learning a Step Behind? | Partner in Education

Common Core Writing Prompts Too Hard or Teaching & Learning a Step Behind? | Partner in Education | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Comparison is the most pervasive cognitive activity the human brain actively seeks to engage. From the earliest stages of life, infants are able to discriminate their mothers among photographs (Berrara & Maurer, 1981) as well as among other caregivers, often using multiple clues: visual, aural, and scent. As children mature, they continue to hone skills of discrimination as they innately begin to compare experiences and build preferences for food, activities, and people. Adolescents and adults use comparison throughout the day as they are faced with decisions: what to eat, what to buy, how fast to drive, which route to take, whose proposal to accept, which idea to reject, and on and on. No decision is made in a vacuum. Every decision is made in context with previous experience and knowledge gained. Comparison, in that context, is among the most used and most important of our thinking skills.

 

Only recently has the ability of our young students to compare and contrast, to integrate ideas, and to analyze how ideas work together been fully brought to test. The Common Core Standards values the ability (and as I’ve pointed out, the regular and repeated practice of comparison), and therefore, so do the assessments growing out of the standards. In the past, students were taught to compare and contrast by using a simple Venn diagram. The issue with Venn diagrams as they are typically used is their limited capacity. All the Venn can do is support one’s effort to compartmentalize what is similar and what is different between two “things.” The diagram does not support parallel comparison and therefore, cannot support logical decision making or analysis.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Posted a new blog today addressing some of the concerns I've read on Diane Ravitch's blog regarding the difficulty of Common Core Assessment prompts. I won't say they are easy, but I will say that I find few teachers who know how to teach students how to gather and write a comparison paper much less a simulated research response. Hopefully, my blog can support some much needed change in this area.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, May 13, 2014 5:41 PM

Posted a new blog today addressing some of the concerns I've read on Diane Ravitch's blog regarding the difficulty of Common Core Assessment prompts. I won't say they are easy, but I will say that I find few teachers who know how to teach students how to gather and write a comparison paper much less a simulated research response. Hopefully, my blog can support some much needed change in this area.

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Common Core to arrive at base schools soon - Jacksonville Daily News

Common Core to arrive at base schools soon - Jacksonville Daily News | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Common Core to arrive at base schools soon Jacksonville Daily News The implementation of the Common Core State Standards is slated to take effect during the 2015-16 school year bringing them on board with 45 other states that currently use the...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I didn't realize that "[b]ecause base schools fall under the Department of Defense, the schools currently do not participate in assessments or teacher evaluations mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which was implemented in 2001. Instead, the schools use evaluations mandated by Department of Defense Education Activity, which regulates all Department of Defense schools. In conjunction with adopting Common Core, the schools are reviewing two nationally recognized evaluations to track progress among students. The two programs the schools will choose from include the Smarter Balance Assessment and the PARCC or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers,

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When English Proficiency Isn't Enough

When English Proficiency Isn't Enough | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core requires more than basic comprehension.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
This article in The Atlantic focuses on some of the simple albeit power changes teachers can and should be making a part of everyday instruction.
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How Common Core State Standards Support National Readiness

How Common Core State Standards Support National Readiness | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
According to a report released by Mission Readiness, a non-partisan national security organization of senior retired military leaders calling for smart investments in America’s Children, nearly 75 p
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

The Common Core Standards are about much more than getting kindergarteners ready for college. The Standards are about raising the living standard for all Americans by supporting an academic foundation that holds knowledge, thinking, and skills in high regard--regardless of zip code, race, or family background.

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Can the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of Special Education? | Teach.com

Can the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of Special Education? | Teach.com | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
As the Common Core Standards Initiative makes its way into the education system, it leaves special education in the dark. Learn how special education teachers can fill the gap!
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Not much to add...the Common Core will be powerful if appropriately implemented, but the needs of many Special Education students are not sufficiently addressed through these standards. 

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Language Magazine » Cutting to the Common Core: The Benefits of Narrow Reading Units

Language Magazine » Cutting to the Common Core: The Benefits of Narrow Reading Units | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In working with teachers and having taught for 20 years in the high school, I fully understand the frustration struggling readers have with weeks of literary reading and study. The concept of narrow reading is appealing and I must say somewhat refreshing, especiallyl in light of the demands PARCC and the frameworks place on informational text. To spend an entire quarter on one or the other text type could be a drain on many students...depending on where their interests and strengths lie. Personally and professionally, speaking out of experience, I believe we should be considering 4-week spans of instructional time rather than quarters and /or semesters.

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Two Districts, Two Approaches to Common-Core Curriculum

Two Districts, Two Approaches to Common-Core Curriculum | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
To help implement the common-core standards, one district opts for the offerings of a major publisher, while another writes its own materials.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

"Two roads diverged..." and I think that taking the one less traveled, digging in and writing curriculum is the best answer for qualified and willing teachers. By writing curriculum, educators learn the standards, therefore becoming better teachers of the rigorous expectations.

 

Congrats!

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Indiana’s Potemkin Standards?

Indiana’s Potemkin Standards? | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
As opposition to the Common Core State Standards has gained momentum in parts of the land, it’s important to ask what happens if a state changes its mind and renounce
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I couldn't agree more. The Common Core has become a political football punted by the pundits from the political arena to the fields of media--many of which are more celebrity than news-oriented.

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In Defense of ‘Expressionist Crap’

In Defense of ‘Expressionist Crap’ | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"... the thinking goes, the best way—the only way—to prepare students for the rigors of college courses and for their subsequent careers is to teach them to compose lab reports, police reports, interoffice memos, and researched-based, third-person essays that allow us all to pretend that those works carry no personal bias. Hence we will produce the ideal scholar, one who is capable of spitting out convoluted sentences that circumvent the word “I” with the same ludicrousness with which the androgynous Pat from Saturday Night Live left 1990s viewers guessing his/her gender through the deft omission of pronouns.

Instructors in literature, writing, and other disciplines all want students to know and use basic grammar, to be able to develop and structure their ideas, and to understand the conventions of documentation that will allow them to enter into intellectual exchange. Where we often differ is in how to achieve those goals.

Yes, students need to learn how to write grants and proposals and research papers. Yes, students should learn the conventions of their fields of study. But should biologists know only how to compile lab results, and police officers only how to write reports? Or is there something for all of us to gain when students engage in rigorous, compassionate, empathetic reflections on their own experiences?"

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

The personal narrative has become the subject of disdain having fallen victim to judgments of impracticality and waning instructional interest tending to favor technical writing. But this article takes the personal narrative and builds case for reinstituting the form into instruction and writing practice. 

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