The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) supporting school leaders in helping all students become college and career-ready and to succeed in post-secondary education and training
These Action Briefs for school leaders are a starting point, designed to increase awareness of the standards, create a sense of urgency around their implementation, and provide these stakeholders — who are faced with dramatically increased expectations in the context of fewer resources — with a deeper understanding of the standards and their role in implementing the standards. Achieve, in partnership with College Summit, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, released this with support from MetLife Foundation.
Real fluency is an improvement on traditional math's plug-and-chug, mechanical approach.
"Common Core saves us from plug-and-chug. In fact, math is based on a collection of ideas that do make sense. The rules come from the ideas. Common Core asks students to learn math this way, with both computational fluency and understanding of the ideas."
Montana Education Chief Praises Common Core Implementation.
The Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle (9/15) reports on the classroom changes under the Common Core Standards in Montana, where schools “have been working to carry out the Common Core standards for the past three years.” The article takes note of the growing “backlash” against the standards across the country, but reports that Montana Superintendent Denise Juneau, “one of the Common Core’s biggest supporters, says the new standards are good for Montana students because they are ‘more rigorous’ than Montana’s old standards.”
If you were a third-grader at Emily Dickinson School in Bozeman, your teacher might ask you to plan a birthday party with a $100 spending limit, look up newspaper ads to find how much cakes and supplies cost, and then write a persuasive letter to explain why your party plan is the best.
"In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (9/11, Bennett, Subscription Publication), former Education Secretary William Bennett defends Common Core standards, noting that they were originally separate from the Federal government, but were hijacked by bureaucrats and politicians. Bennett defends that principles behind the standards and argues that they should be separated from the Federal government once again."
National Programs Promote Minority Students’ College Readiness.
US News & World Report (9/8) reports on the challenges that many minority students face in college, citing ACT statistics showing reduced college readiness among black and Hispanic high school graduates. The article addresses things that can improve minority students’ college readiness, including increased academic rigor in basic math and English language courses, and explores the work that such groups as the National College Resources Foundation, Talent Development Secondary, and Upward Bound are doing to “meet their needs and aid them in their college admissions endeavors.” The article expands on the offerings of the federally funded Upward Bound, noting that according to deputy Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education James Minor, Upward Bound “participants must be ‘a potential first-generation college student, a low-income individual or an individual who has a high risk for academic failure.’”
New math curriculum will go more in-depth at younger ages, increasing understanding
Mel Riddile's insight:
"As a math teacher for the past 28 years, I am often asked why students in the United States continue to lag behind students in Asia and Europe in math. Teaching elementary mathematics for nearly three decades has given me a pretty good idea why — lack of focus."
Historically, teaching fractions in California classrooms, for example, was pretty straightforward, with instruction on finding common denominators and knowing how to flip the top and bottom to multiply rather than divide. Homework might include 20 equations, and a good grade was tied to correct answers. The lesson bore out the fact that students often intuitively understand math concepts, but not when they're presented as a set of steps or rules to follow.
Yet the new standards are confounding some homework-helping parents and raising concerns that the absence of traditional rote learning will lead to lower SAT scores and college rejection letters. "The Common Core standards are meant to show people what students should know and be able to do," said Peter Williamson, associate professor of teacher education at the University of San Francisco.
".although the two consortia building tests set to the Common Core will be releasing sample questions, most of the prompts will call for choices among multiple choice responses.
There will be many fewer performance tasks calling for open-ended responses of the kind just described than they had promised when they began their work.
I do not doubt that their tests will be much better than the vast majority of the tests that states have been using for accountability purposes, but they will still, in my opinion, fall well short of what they could and should have been had it not been for federal policy that requires far more testing than will be found in the any of the high performing countries.
Austin Texas Experiments With New Style Of School Research.
Education Week (9/18, Sparks) reports the Austin, Texas school district is trying out an “improvement science” program that will change how the district supports and improves teachers while at the same time letting officials look at the larger picture of day-to-day issues. The new strategy lets officials implement a small change to one or two teachers for 90 days. At the end of the trial period, officials tweak the intervention, reform it , or implement the intervention on a system-wide basis. Advocates of the program say that it lets schools perfect a reform before they implement it and helps prevent bad reforms from taking hold in schools.
Mel Riddile's insight:
All successful change efforts start small with a willing group of people.
Why is it so difficult to elevate the academic performance of low income children?
A growing body of research indicates that part of the answer may lie in the tremendous amount of brain development that takes place during the first three years of life. Babies are born to learn, and we now know many neural networks in the brain are significantly strengthened or weakened long before a child has entered formal schooling.
43 states are standing by the Common Core, but one-third are calling it by another name.
The Washington Post (9/9, Lyndsey Layton) reports that according to the report, “most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different.” The report shows that 19 states “have ditched the ‘Common Core’ name but have kept the standards and slapped on a new moniker that doesn’t carry as much political freight.”
Below are additional resources that Stidham and Schmidt have found to be useful in helping teachers make the transition to the Common Core and in creating lessons that both challenge and engage students.
Teachers Pay Teachers—an “open marketplace” where teacher entrepreneurs buy, sell and share the resources they have created
No matter the question, an online resource called TuvaLabs is helping students use data to find the answer.
Three Act Math, a set of tasks by Stanford University math education professor Dan Meyer, Stidham’s students learned about quadratic relationships by making predictions about basketball. The students used multiple strategies to understand the meaning of graphs. “They were not just learning and problem solving; they were learning through problem solving,” she says.
Iowa Teacher of the Year Jane Schmidt, from the Maquoketa Community School District, and other mentors in her region have been training teachers on the “gradual release of responsibility” framework, as it is presented in “Better Learning Through Structured Teaching,” by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.
This is the third installment of my reflections on the relationship between the Common Core State Standards and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession Teacher Leadership Framework. When I was at a National Board Teacher Conference last spring I was introduced to the framework. I was looking at the framework at the same time …
"The nonprofit Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has supported the Common Core State Standards, published a report in 2013 with some startling information that was little noticed in the education world until recently: that the high school dropout rate could double as a result of the Core initiative.
The fact of the matter is that it is one thing to say that all teachers are literacy teachers, and it is quite another thing to provide all teachers with tools to actually teach, versus merely assign, literacy-related strategies and tasks.
Jessica Bennett's book Common Core in the Content Areas provides "a bunch of teaching and planning tools" to strengthen literacy in science, history and math.