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.
Millions of students will sit down at computers this year to take new tests rooted in the Common Core standards for math and reading, but policymakers in many states are having buyer's remorse.
The AP (8/31, Hefling, Smyth) reports on “buyer’s remorse” among policymakers regarding Common Core. As evidence the article points to Ohio state Rep. Andy Thompson, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who are opposing the standards, Indiana and Oklahoma which abandoned them this year, and North Carolina, South Carolina, and Missouri where governors “have signed legislation to reconsider the standards.” It also notes that while teachers’ unions “endorsed the standards and helped develop them,” many “now complain about botched efforts to put them in place.” In response to complaints, “Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently said he would allow states to delay using students’ test scores in teacher evaluation systems.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
"SHIFTING PUBLIC OPINION
A PDK/Gallup Poll released Aug. 20 found a dramatic change in the number of people aware of the standards. Last year, two-thirds of those surveyed said they'd never heard of the standards. This year, 81 percent said they had — and 6 in 10 said they oppose them.
Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the national organization representing school superintendents, said polling provides more evidence it's important to "slow down to get it right."
Having standardization in a global world is not dire or menacing.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"the "standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them." The new mindset, as we move forward, needs to be flexible while also maintaining consistency so that our teachers are not continuously and annually re-inventing the curriculum wheel."
"Duncan shared three principle complaints in the debate about assessment in schools:
It doesn’t make sense to hold them accountable during this transition year for results on the new assessments — a test many of them have not seen before — and as many are coming up to speed with new standards.
The standardized tests they have today focus too much on basic skills, not enough on critical thinking and deeper learning.
Testing — and test preparation — takes up too much time."
Mel Riddile's insight:
"This extension will give states an extra year to plan how student assessment will play into school evaluations. Duncan reiterated the importance on being serious about outcomes, but flexible about the journey to achieve new goals."
A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards: ___ ALABAMA The state school board folded Common Core into the state's College and Career Ready Standards for public schools and has been defending the decision ever since. Legislators introduced bills in 2013 and 2014 to repeal the standards. The repeal movement drew support from tea party groups, but Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, blocked the bills with the support of one of the state's most powerful business groups, the Business Council of Alabama. By Phillip Rawls. ___ ALASKA The state did not adopt Common Core, although several Alaska school districts did.
Research is verifying what many teachers know: Well-designed digital games in the classroom increase student engagement, learning and retention. They improve students’ on-task time and even their social and emotional well-being. The benefits are especially significant when high-quality games are integrated into a curriculum over multiple lessons. So how can we put this knowledge to use as our new school year begins?
New York has become the poster child for poor implementation of the Common Core State Standards. A Race-to-the-Top state, New York officials bragged several years ago about how they were ready for the new standards.
The state could not wait for PARCC to develop an assessment system. So, New York developed it's own "Common Core-Aligned" set of state tests and tied the results to teacher evaluations and to graduation requirements. Common sense dictates that new, higher standards, new, more rigorous assessments coupled with a short window for implementation would result in lower scores on the tests. But as Will Rogers once said, "Common sense ain't so common."
The train wreck occurred when officials, knowing that scores would drop, tied those scores (fifty percent) to teacher evaluations and graduation requirements. This initially outraged teachers who saw the handwriting on the wall. After all, if you have been in education for more than a few years, you are all too familiar with botched implementations. Next came parent outrage because their students were failing the required state tests in huge numbers and they would not graduate.
If one wished to devise a plan to sabotage the Common Core State Standards, this plan was virtually foolproof.
As early as three years ago, New York principals, with tears in their eyes pleaded that tying the expected falling test scores to teacher evaluations was eroding the trust they had worked so hard to build and was destroying the culture of their schools. Their pleas went unnoticed--Ready, Fire, Aim.
Implementation of the Common Core State Standards is a necessary, but 'monumental undertaking.' Changing the way teachers teach and how students are assessed, moving the target from high school completion to college and career-readiness, integrating literacy into all content areas, changing teacher evaluation systems, changing state accountability systems are individually multi-year undertakings. Together these and other local and state initiatives--all occurring simultaneously--represent the "perfect storm" for public education--a storm with no end in sight.
"I would encourage you to continue to teach comprehension strategies as a scaffold for dealing with challenging text. The point would be to make it possible for kids to make sense of truly challenging texts; the use of strategies could be enough to allow some kids to scaffold their own reading successfully--meaning they might be able to read frustration level texts as if they were written at their instructional level."
"The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired."
When states have had problems with waivers from No Child Left Behind, it's usually been because of their teacher-evaluation plans. This time a state lost its waiver because it's standards weren't good enough.
In September 2009, I was asked by the NGA and the CCSSO to lead the work of writing Common Core Standards for states to consider adopting in 2010.
"I led a team of about 50 teachers, mathematicians, education researchers, and policy makers—experts in all the different aspects of mathematics education—to produce standards the states could be proud of. Three lead writers, including myself, produced draft after draft of the standards and circulated them to the states for comment."
Q: The Common Core emphasizes college- and career-readiness for all students, which is a shift for some schools that have typically focused on college-readiness for high achievers. How (if at all) will that shift affect a school counselor’s work?
A: "This shift should not have a major impact on a school counselor’s work. The school counselor’s role has long been to address the academic, career and social/emotional needs of all students so that they are prepared for higher education and for a successful transition to the world of work. School counselors will continue to advocate for student support, equity and access to a rigorous education for all students."
"William McCallum, a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Arizona who was involved in development Common Core standards in math, testifies in support of the Common Core during a hearing before the Ohio House’s Rules and Reference Committee, which is considering a repeal of the standards."
Poll Shows Opposition To Common Core And Misperceptions.
A pair of wide-ranging polls by PDK/Gallup and Education Next gauge sentiment on the common standards, testing, school funding, and other hot-button issues.
Education Week (8/27, Camera) reports that a PDK/Gallup and Education Next poll shows that Common Core “has a serious image problem” with the American public. The poll reflects that while awareness of the standards have “jumped” in a year, “adults have misperceptions that the standards are a Federal Initiative.” The poll shows that 40 percent of respondents who were opposed to the standards said their reasoning was that it was based on their belief that the Federal government initiated the standards.
"The Common Core State Standards are good standards."
"The same ideas we had in Wisconsin about excellence in math and English language arts were being discussed on a national scale, which would ultimately produce a better product, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)."
Mel Riddile's insight:
One of the keys to effecting real, lasting change is the development of a common language. "CCSS offer an incredible opportunity. At national conferences, we are all speaking the same educational language."