Common Core
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STANISLAUS COUNTY: Stanislaus schools weigh in as high school math curriculum gets makeover under Common Core | Education | Modesto Bee

STANISLAUS COUNTY: Stanislaus schools weigh in as high school math curriculum gets makeover under Common Core | Education | Modesto Bee | Common Core | Scoop.it
Algebra courses will all but disappear under Common Core, but nobody gets out of solving for X. The coming math makeover builds the same skills, but loses the labels.
Elizabeth Barnett's insight:

This article looks at the Common Core’s effect on high school math curriculums in Stanislaus County, California. As part of my content curation on the Common Core, I wanted to look at both individual subjects and school system. What this report offers is a sample local lens on what high school math looks like under the Common Core. Some I found appealing was the departure from traditional isolated subjects and performance levels, such as algebra I, geometry, and algebra II, instead opting to enforce a more organic blend of all three subjects into one class. In my experience, the traditional tracking system promotes individualization, ignoring the fact that we like in a mostly collaborative society. Especially in high school math, I observed many of my peers become stagnant in their classes due to low achievement on testing. While I was able to move onto to Calculus by my senior year, some of my fellow pupils had never strayed from algebra. What that the Common Core offers are math standards that advance an initial formation of foundation knowledge, in an effort to encourage a slower pace that results in more complex and engaging lessons. I think I personally would have benefitted from this in high school because my tracking progression, I feel, forced me to graduate as a very singularly-minded student who dreading group projects and class discussion. Because much of my college experience has actually been rooted in group and class-wide activity, I have had to find a way to alter my views and attitudes on learning. Additionally, the article examines the Common Core’s heavy utilization of 21st century knowledge within in math standards. This is another component of math curriculums I had little exposure to high school. The sad reality is that my encounters with high school math was largely fixed in rote memorization of facts and formulas, often times completely eradicating word problems, projects, or assessments with any real-world contexts. Because the Common Core focuses on produces potential contributing college students or members of the work force, the article describes the new “revamped” high school math classes in Stanislaus County as more current and practical. What the content reveals is overwhelming positive feedback from not only school officials, but the students themselves. I feel that in order for the Common Core to be effective, students’ voices must be included in this conversation. Therefore, this article confirmed my perspective that the math standards introduced under the Common Core initiative are beneficial for the inclusion of all students, a notion I feel very strongly about. Because the Common Core enhances practicality and contemporary relevance, students have a more promising opportunity for success beyond graduation. This article assisted in my developing perspective by straying from talking about Common Core in theoretical terms, and instead offering a firsthand account of its implementation. I would like to further examine other school districts using the Common Core in high school math to see if they were met with the same triumph. 

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Common Core State Standards Initiative | About the Standards

Elizabeth Barnett's insight:
As part of my content curation on the Common Core, I wanted to go on the initiatives website to find out more about how the standards were compiled, and what factors were considered when constructing the proposal. I read a PDF off the website that addresses these considerations more specifically, but this website provides an ample summary of my findings. Something notable I read was that the standards are all based off empirical evidence. Often curriculum or standard suggestions and notions are derived solely from the opinions of  'experts in the field,' and not on observable data. In my EDCI 280 field experience, I observed a meeting between the first grade teacher and an outside county testing expert regarding the implementation of new standardized assessments that were planned on being introduced in the school later in the year. I found the meeting impersonal, for it included no personal observations or evidence to back up the promotion for these tests. It appeared as though the novel standards were mostly theory and opinion-based. Therefore, I found the Common Core consideration of looking at evidence "from national organizations representing, but not limited to, teachers, postsecondary educators (including community colleges), civil rights groups, English language learners, and students with disabilities" to be attractive and beneficial. Further, the website discussed the Common Core's desire to lessen the amount of State Standards, and make them more clear, concise, and communicable. I feel that this is necessary to not only make the standards translatable for teachers, but also to drastically cut down curriculum elements to only those that are absolutely necessary for student acheivement and success. I believe this will foster clarity for both educators and students, especially those students who get silenced in the confusion of complicated and convoluted curriculums. Essentially, this content influenced my developing perspective on the Common Core by allowing me to evaluate certain features of the standards. I think this evaluation has been vital in forming an opinion on the initiative, and has encouraged a deeper analysis. There are several considerations mentioned on this website that sparked curiosity on both the Common Core itself and the process of compiling educational standards.
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But Why The Common Core?

But Why The Common Core? | Common Core | Scoop.it
A decade ago, American education leaders received some alarming news: On a pair of international tests, U.S. students were far behind their peers in countries like Japan, Russia, Singapore and South Korea.
Elizabeth Barnett's insight:

This article discusses potential benefits for Common Core standards on a global scale. It was interesting to read how far behind the United States is on international testing, coming in as low as 23rd or 24th on many subject areas. I don't have personal experience with differentiating American test scores with that of our international peers, but I am aware of the effects of globalization. I do feel that a country with as many financial, environmental, and diverse resources as the United States should be able to produce international competitors and assets through its school system. One of the fears I have about the Common Core is that some areas of the country may not as much wealth or amenities to reach or maintain a national standard. Nevertheless, this article provided me with insight on the subject, as it may be necessary to develop a national curriculum that manufactures capable additions to a globalized society. The Common Core standards are rooted in college and career preparatory foundations, which would hopefully initiate achievement improvement. This content prompted many questions, as I would like to take a more in-depth look regarding the specifics of this curriculum to see if a variety of interests and passions are represented.

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Centralized control of education, not Common Core, is the problem

Centralized control of education, not Common Core, is the problem | Common Core | Scoop.it
Efforts to impose the Common Core curriculum nationwide have stirred up outrage among parents and community leaders.
Elizabeth Barnett's insight:

In an effort to explore multiple perspectives within my content curation on the Common Core, I desired to include publications expressing concern with the initiative. This article is from the ‘Community’ section of the Washington Times, which publishes social journalism from independent voices. The author, Dave Nalle, highlights the dangers of the Common Core’s ‘top-down’-based planning and design because it lacks community and parental involvement. Nalle claims that because the Common Core is centralized in its construction, its curriculum silences the local grassroots voice. I found it interesting that the article asserts that the Common Core itself is not the problem, but its central control. In my personal educational experience, I have observed the necessity of community involvement in curriculum organization. There is one example specifically that comes to mind: when I was in the fifth grade a Health unit was taught on ‘Sexual Education.’ Because of the controversial nature of the unit’s subject matter, the fifth grade parents organized an assembly with school officials, and a consensus was reached concerning the curriculum and its content. Further, parents had the choice whether or not to have their children participate in the unit. I feel that this cooperation between the parents and the school promoted a spirit of community collaboration and public involvement in regards to curriculum establishment. Because of this, I found the article’s point to be valid and important in the general dialogue on curriculum. In this sense, the article challenged my expanding perspective that the Common Core is a promising development to attention widespread. Having said this though, I found aspects of this article to be troubling as well. According to the Common Core’s website and literature, the initiative only launches nation-wide standards, and leaves the actual curriculum in the hands of states and schools. The standards provided by the Common Core define what students should know in the various stages of their education, while the curriculum interprets what students must learn in order to achieve those standards. In actuality, the Common Core State Standards lay curriculum decisions in the hands of those on a more local level. Overall this content prompted personal questions on distribution of power in curriculum establishment. Although my developing perspective on the Common Core remains founded in the initiative’s benefits, the article did raise concerns on grassroot involvement. Even if the curriculum is designed by individual states, it must maintain roots in the extensive national standards established by the Common Core. 

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A Georgia high school graduate: Common Core would have...

A Georgia high school graduate: Common Core would have... | Common Core | Scoop.it
Matt Sellers of Perry is studying at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom as a Marshall Scholar.
Elizabeth Barnett's insight:

I really enjoyed how this article gave a first-hand opinion about how the Common Corewould have improved the author Matt Sellers's educational experiences in Georgia. Too often Common Core is spoken in more general and theoretical terms, discussing the advantages and disadvantages for whole student bodies, states, or classrooms. This article offers a distinct and unique opinion on Matt Sellers's personal thoughts on Common Core. Sellers clearly believes in the Georgia education system, despite its struggles to maintain consistent with higher standardized test-scoring states. He beleives the Common Core would not only have helped him in school, but also has the potential to help the state of Georgia. This made me think about my own public school system in my county in Maryland (Montgomery County). I found that in my high school in particular, the higher achieving students were very much isolated with peers that were lower performing. Because of this article, I would like to think that Common Core standards would equate the student body of my high school and provide a more balanced academic playing field amongst the student body. Something I passionately believe is public education's responsibility to represent all students within its standards and curriculum. Therefore, I believe that Sellers's outlook on the Common Core confirmed my hope for its ability to produce successful realworld triumph for all students. 

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Common Core, education's front-end alignment

Common Core, education's front-end alignment | Common Core | Scoop.it
Common Core is the first major reform initiative to deal with the front end of education -- the substance of what actually is being taught in the classroom, instead of focusing solely on student performance on standardized tests (although testing...
Elizabeth Barnett's insight:

I thoroughly enjoyed this newspaper article's indepth analysis of the Common Core, as it presents the 'meat' of what it has to offer, along with various opinions on its controversial nature. What really struck me was the Common Core's vast attitude shift in the meaning and methodology of what is necessary to teach in a public education school system. To largely summarize, this article communicates the Common Core's emphasis on 'how to learn' versus 'what to learn,' foucsing more on the journey of learning rather than the destination. My experience in pre-college schooling was wholly rooted in rote memorization and test scores, not on processes concerning how to get the answer. I have to admit that my academic identity and self-evaluation were fundamentally based on my grades, standardized test scores, and my abillity to know the correct answer. What this resulted in was a school-wide (or perhaps nation-wide) definition of intelligence as the capactiy one has to achieve high grades. This article, along with other research I have done and college classes I have taken, made me realize the tragedy of this outlook. The publication discusses the subjects of English/Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which are embedded in the Common Core, and claims that the focus is on cultivating a true understanding on the material. I can appreciate this priority of cutting down memorization in order to promote deeper thinking. My post-high school experience has been that strategies towards in-depth analysis has been infinitely more valuable than memorizing facts to do well on a standardized test. In closing, this article definitelty impacted my developing perspective on the Common Core by noting the internal value of its potential to produce successful and productive citizens. I can now acknowledge that the Common Core not only has the possibility of enhancing the academic success, but also individual prosperity. 

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