Article about common core...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by HorseLover, May 25, 2013.

  1. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    May 25, 2013

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  3. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 25, 2013

    We have Common Core for math and this year has been a disaster. Personally I would be thrilled if we could go back to the old way of teaching. My experience with CC has been mostly negative. Some of it may just be growing pains, but this is what I have experienced:

    1. We have been given an expectation (ie: students must meet these standards and achieve that score) but no one has offered much assistance or guidance on how we should get there or what exactly we should be doing.

    2. A lot of the curriculum is not age appropriate. Many of our students come in still learning their letters and many are still learning the mechanics of reading and writing.

    It's unfair to expect them to write about lengthy explanations of how they figured out the answer for "If Mary has 6 cookies, 12 donuts and 4 marshmellows and she gives 3 donuts to John, how many snacks does Mary have left?"

    3. There was no transition. We literally were given the curriculum a week before school started. Parts were missing. The trainings we have gone to are mostly just sessions where teachers talk about the issues they have. Everyone has questions, but there aren't any real solutions

    4. Makes more work for the teacher (our curriculum provided standards and a few lessons, but we had to create the homework, test reviews, a lot of the class resources, search for materials like read-a-loud book titles, like paperclips, magnifying glases, etc that are not provided by the school, etc)

    5. The module assessments (about 1 every three to four weeks) do not match the performance based assessment (which is given at the end of each quarter and supposed to be a cummulative review of all the skills taught during that quarter)

    6. Parents complain that the homework is too hard and they are unable to help their children with it. So I have a lot of homework packets that return with the math undone, or I have to conference with parents to demonstrate how the homework is completed

    7. There is no pacing guide

    8. Makes differentiation more difficult. Our old curriculum was broken into three sections "regular lesson" (for the "average" learner) "reteach lesson" (which was basically for "kids who just don't get it") and expansion lesson (for students who caught on quickly and needed something more challenging).

    Our version of CC doesn't have this. It just gives you "assessing" and "advancing" questions, so I often rack my brain trying to keep my advanced kids occupied and my struggling kids caught up. It exhausts me!
     
  4. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    May 25, 2013

    Em, it sounds like a lot of what you are talking about has to do with a program and not the standards themselves. (Or about how the standards were rolled out in your district.)

    We've used the CCSS for 2 years now. Yes, it is a challenge learning all new standards. But I'm really not opposed to them. Seems that a lot of the vocal pushback comes from people who think it's an Obama agenda.

    There's so much misunderstanding. In the comments of the article someone mentioned sexuality education. There's nothing like that in the standards.
     
  5. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    May 25, 2013

    There's a lot that makes me nervous for Common Core (we officially switch in 13-14), but I think the school mentioned in the article was not doing Common Core correctly. Common Core does ask students to think about the "why" behind mathematical procedures, but it doesn't mean that all solving practice should go out the window. There needs to be a balance. And just like math, reading instruction should also be balanced. A student should not be reading ALL nonfiction (especially in the younger grades), there is definitely room for fiction and novels. I think the school mentioned in the article took it WAY too far and was not actually practicing what Common Core preaches.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 25, 2013

    In my district, Common Core is a floor. Not a major change, just some shifts. The biggest difference is in the testing.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    May 26, 2013

    Czacza, please explain....

    K & 1 moved to CCSS this past year (12-13). It was interesting. Because my 1st graders had not had CCSS last year, in some ways, they were not prepared for the "tougher" standards. In others, it was much easier. In math, we taught fewer skills, but taught them more in-depth. I like this. We spent a huge amount of time on base-10 and problem solving. I do think (and I incorporated it into my instruction) that some things "have" to be learned by rote, and math facts are that type of thing. Until the students achieve "automaticity" and "fluency" (to borrow reading terms for math) with facts, they struggle with anything more abstract or higher level. My new P doesn't like much "paper & pencil" work (worksheets). I have countered that (1) students (at least first graders) need the physical practice of using pencils & paper to develop fine motor control & handwriting, and (2) it builds fluency.

    I'm moving to 3rd grade for 13-14, so I'm currently researching the standards and developing my curriculum maps, so I have no thoughts on that as yet, except.... I do not think we will see the full benefit (or cost) of CCSS at any particular grade level until the students at that grade level have had CCSS all the way through school, from K (or preK) on up.
     
  8. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2013

    I think the CCSS are far superior to Florida's NGSSS. Moving back to NGSSS would be a huge step backwards. Majorly awful.

    What I see is a huge difference in the implementation of Common Core.
    - CCSS is not a curriculum. it is a set of standards. it is up to the individual states/districts/schools to develop the curriculum. There are CCSS curriculum maps, but they are not a requirement to implement the actual standards.
    - They are being interpreted very differently - in schools, districts, and states. For example, by 8th grade, students should be reading 45% literary texts and 55% informational texts - across the board - not just in the Language Arts classroom. Yet I have people and entire schools districts (here's looking at you, Broward) claiming that the ELA classroom needs more informational texts. Not true if the kid is also reading textbooks and articles in math, SS, and science.
    - People don't like change, so they complain about every tiny thing (this is my personal experience as the school-based CCSS ELA expert running trainings on the understanding and implementation of the CCSS).
    - Implementing the CCSS this year, in MS, where the children are coming from elementary schools where critical thinking and short answer responses were clearly not a high priority, has been very stressful for everyone. I think that FL needed a longer roll out period to help keep, teachers, students, and parents from losing their ever-loving minds.

    Honestly, the article strikes me as a couple of moms who got ****** off that their kid wasn't getting easy, mind-numbing worksheets and As, and set out on a mission to make sure that school remained a breeze for their kids. This is not to say that the whole testing aspect is not suspect (seriously, Pearson money grubbers), but all of this started just because the kid was being asked to explain how they know that one number is larger than another... And the mom didn't know how to answer it, either.
     
  9. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    May 26, 2013

    Thanks for the input everyone! Since I'm in Virginia (and we haven't adopted it, as of now anyway) I really don't know much about it at all. From what you're saying it sounds as if it depends upon how it is used and implemented. Interesting. Hopefully all the kinks get worked out quickly for the sake of the students and teachers!
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    May 26, 2013

    We don't use it here either, so my opinion my not be meaningful. It surprises me that a state would stop using it so quickly after putting it into effect. It really takes time to see the results of something like that-we've seen that just with programs the districts have implemented.

    This part bothers me and I think is the real issue they had: "The Common Core standards are owned by private trade organizations, which parents cannot influence." Why should parents be able to influence education standards? Now because they didn't like the way their children's homework looked, the whole state is not going to benefit from CC resources. That's a little scary to me.
     
  12. Newb

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    May 26, 2013

    Honestly, the ideas behind Common Core are going to be an improvement in ELA over the shallow, disjointed testing standards we have in TN. If properly executed, Common Core should do a better job of preparing kids for the type of work they'll need to do in college. However, the way that states and districts implement them is going to be a problem.

    What I like the most about the Common Core standards in English and Social Studies is that they essentially cut our state standards down by about 60%. Simplifying the standards that we need to focus on and teach is a smart move. However, some places have decided to "fix" the "broadness" of Common Core standards by "unpacking" them into 2 or 3 "simpler" standards each. That sets us back beyond where we started from.

    Another issue is that administrators are taking small bits of info about Common Core here and there and blowing them up as if those little details are the focus. They're not. For example, the focus in informational texts is causing some schools to completely remove fiction and literature from their curriculum. This is not what Common Core actually says to do, but it's being done in some places. The kids' reading skills and overall engagement will suffer for this.

    The Common Core assessments that Pearson has designed are going to be very hard on lower ability kids. After being told by my principal that I had to start incorporating Common Core into my Inclusion classrooms (about 40% Special Ed. students and 60% of the lowest level Gen. Ed.) this year to prepare them for the change in 2014, I had a ton of problems.

    Kids refused to do their work because it was "too hard," a lot of them couldn't even read the questions (even after I reworded things to make it simpler for them), and then others started acting out because they were frustrated. They complained they weren't learning anything, even though their fundamental skills improved clearly. A lot of the MS level questions in ELA for the standardized tests are written in more complex, technical jargon than what I had to deal with in grad school.

    For the kids who don't get eased into Common Core, the transition is going to be even more difficult and it's going to cause nightmares in classrooms. Students and teachers will be lost, especially since Common Core standards are sequenced in such a way as to build on previous years. All of a sudden your 9th graders will be expected to have had 9 years of specialized Common Core instruction they didn't get, yet you won't have time to remediate them. Plenty of Honors students who are good at rote memorization and regurgitation will test poorly under Common Core. Test scores will be all over the place, frustrating administrators and screwing up "accountability."

    However, students who are good at B.S.ing their way through things will succeed on writing assessments and things. Common Core rewards them. Our state's new Common Core aligned writing assessments ask for students to "give evidence," but that evidence doesn't need to be cited or even remotely true. As long as the kid B.S.es something as a basis for his or her argument, the student kids credit for doing it.

    I've been through several different Common Core training workshops. The speakers are usually clueless or will say things that contradict. One speaker emphasized the importance of only teaching one Common Core standard per day and to teach them in order according to a flow chart--not really going to work with high school ELA and the different strands don't lend themselves to "doing it in order" that well. Another speaker said that kids should be a little confused by their reading and we should never scaffold--good luck with that. Half the time, these workshops turned into gripe sessions where the messengers probably wished we'd shoot them to put them out of their misery. It was bad.

    While I think the theories behind Common Core and the guiding principles are good, the only people I see really benefiting from Common Core in the immediate future are the ones who work for Pearson.
     
  13. Newb

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    May 26, 2013

    After reading the article, I'd personally like to slap that reporter, who apparently didn't even look at the Common Core standards or even bother to look at the old tests or the new tests. She may as well have been writing this as a press release for the two women featured in the article.

    Two politically well-connected moms got upset their private-schooled kids were bringing home work they didn't understand because it was "too easy"--let that sink in for a minute--and then they complained all the way to the governor and got him to take away Common Core for the entire state. I don't like that Pearson controls Common Core, either, but do we really need 2 irate parents controlling the education agenda for an entire state?

    Suddenly the old state tests were the end-all, be-all of education and Common Core is "lower level" stuff that's only good for sending kids to community college. I admit I'm not familiar with Indiana's old tests--maybe they were really great--but I've never seen a single state test that was all that worthwhile.

    It's sad that we've reached the point in this country where "teaching to the test" is not even considered an issue, but rather "what test to teach to" is what gets people riled up. Education is more than testing, but you'd never know it from this article.

    If this were all the start of a movement to rid our nation of high stakes testing and the state or federal standards that are created to support that testing, or at least de-emphasize it, I could get behind it. But it comes across as two conservative women cared more about flexing their political muscle through specious arguments than about improving education.
     
  14. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    May 27, 2013

    I live in Indiana. It's a pain that we have to pause moving forward with the common core standards, mostly because we don't know why or for how long. Many grades will be teaching the Indiana state standards and Common Core until they get it worked out. I will say that Indiana has been a political mess since before Tony Bennett was voted out and has become worse since Glenda Ritz was voted in (the powers that be don't seem very willing to work with her since their good old boy was voted out). These two moms may have had a small amount of influence as to why the common core was paused, but I doubt they are the reason. I think they are being self-important in the article. I try to stay informed and I have never heard of either of them. It's messy politics that goes way further that two moms and the tea party.
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    May 28, 2013

    <<Why should parents be able to influence education standards?>>

    Because it is their kids who are being educated perhaps?

    Why should a bunch of random interest groups get to influence education standards?
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 28, 2013

    I actually don't know how I feel about Common Core Math. It seems useful in reading, writing, English, history, and even science, but the math requirements seem odd. I think this is where a lot of teachers and parents have problems. I know that our school's teachers were complaining about the math part of it as well, and the requirements did indeed look ridiculous.
     
  17. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    May 28, 2013

    Amen! Admittedly, not all parents are going to know the perfect choice (especially since needing to consider all students together), but I think it is perfectly fine (and even desirable) for them to have a good say in the matter!
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    May 29, 2013

    I think many parents often don't understand curriculum as much as people who work with it every day. If this happened the way the article stated, then these parents really didn't understand common core-but fought to have it revoked anyway. I remember years ago the fight against the "new math" simply because it was different from the way the parents had learned it.
     

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