How to sustain Common Core efforts

Most U.S. states have pledged to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Educators and policy makers are heavily invested in the Common Core State Standards, and a new ASCD report aims to help school leaders effectively implement the standards to begin educational transformation.

Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability” identifies activities that educators and policy makers at all levels can undertake to implement the standards successfully.

The recommendations come from data gathered from field work, surveys, and educator summits. While focusing on tactics and strategies that educators across the nation can use to implement the new standards, the report delves deeper into the needs, input, and activities of educators in four states that are diverse in location and education practice—Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah.…Read More

New Florida school is high-tech—and eco-friendly

Construction of Palencia—which incorporates systems designed to keep energy, operating, and maintenance costs down—wrapped up this summer.

When students entered Palencia Elementary School in St. Augustine, Fla., for the first time in late August, they stepped into a high-tech, futuristic school focused on environmental sustainability.

About 500 kindergarten through fifth-grade students crossed the xeriscaped campus of St. Johns County’s newest school, which will emphasize a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

“We want to make the building a teaching tool,” Principal Don Campbell said.…Read More

Back to school – and new common standards?

Democracy is like herding cats – and so is education reform. As America’s public schools consider new common standards in subjects such as math and language arts, it’s time to act on these standards while the cats are all in the same room, the Christian Science Monitor reports. So far, 47 states have signed on to the “common core state standards” launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association. The standards would ensure uniformity in what’s taught in every classroom and what’s expected of every student nationwide. Each grade level would work toward the same goals, instead of experiencing educational chaos – thousands of different goals and curricula. But even an extraordinary commitment such as this – which also has the backing of the two main teachers unions as well as Republicans and Democrats from Main St. to Pennsylvania Ave. – can disappear when the chalk hits the chalkboard. It can face resistance, indifference, or simply fall beneath other priorities…

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Online writing tools focus on teacher development, student engagement

The rigorous Common Core standards for writing outline the skills that students should be able to demonstrate beginning as early as kindergarten.

If there’s one skill that everyone agrees all students must learn across the curriculum, it’s how to write well—and the move toward adopting the Common Core State Standards adds even greater urgency to this effort.

The rigorous Common Core standards for writing outline the skills that students should be able to demonstrate beginning as early as kindergarten. For example, sixth graders should be able to write arguments to support their claims “with clear reasons and relevant evidence,” among other standards.

“Obviously, the advent of the Common Core will shine a bright light [on writing instruction], and online technology offers a ray of hope and the potential for scalability,” said Ogden Morse, CEO of AcademicMerit.…Read More

Study: Common Core could boost U.S. math performance

By examining the top-performing countries in the TIMSS study, Schmidt and his team were able to identify what defines world-class standards.

The Common Core State Standards in mathematics have the potential to enhance students’ academic performance if properly implemented, but most states have a long way to go, according to research from William Schmidt, a University Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.

At an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Schmidt presented a briefing on his work, titled “Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation, and Student Achievement.”

Schmidt’s research took existing data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to determine how the Common Core State Standards in math compared to math standards in countries whose eighth graders performed the best on math assessments.…Read More

How secondary school principals can master the Common Core

School leaders will have to ensure teachers have the necessary knowledge to put Common Core standards into practice.

As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible.

Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted the Common Core standards, and 90 percent of U.S. students are covered by the standards, said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), during an AEE webinar that examined how principals can ensure that students will be ready to master the new college- and career-ready standards and can demonstrate this mastery on the new 2014 state assessments.

While states are in various stages of implementing the standards, “principals play a critical role in this work,” Wise said.…Read More

New report IDs problems with international school rankings

A new study exposes mistakes often made when interpreting test data.

A new report that tackles a number of hot-button education issues argues that U.S. academic performance might not be as poor as originally thought when compared to other countries—and that the Common Core standards might not have the impact many are hoping.

The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education is organized into three sections: Common Core State Standards, achievement gaps in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and international test scores and rankings.

In the report, author Tom Loveless, senior fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy, notes that education has not yet been an important issue in the Republican nomination campaign and “is unlikely to be a prominent issue in the fall general election,” although the report covers topics that will need presidential attention.…Read More