Monday, May 6, 2013

Common core

On another post Anonymous wrote:

NEW POST from Today's PG -
Just the FACTS:

"In defense of the Common Core
Pennsylvania high schools must graduate students who are prepared for the world.
Almost a decade ago, governors from across the country got together to have a long-overdue discussion about why so many students were graduating from high school ill-prepared for college. The business community was sounding the alarm . . ."
The consensus among the governors -- Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals -- was that our students could do better but we had to set higher expectations to get better academic results. With the input of educators, parents and experts in English and math, along with governors and other state leaders, the Common Core State Standards were developed for English and math. Eventually, 46 states voluntarily adopted these standards, including Pennsylvania in 2010.

Lately, there's been a lot of negative chatter about the Common Core, much of it based on ill-informed speculation that it is a federal government plot to "take over" our local schools, dictate classroom curriculum or compile databases on our kids for some sinister, unstated purpose. In reality, the Common Core is a state-led initiative that involves no new student-data collection and in no way usurps Pennsylvania's long history of local control.

The Pennsylvania Common Core Standards will help give our students, parents and taxpayers assurance that the resources we put into education are truly preparing our graduates for the challenges they will face beyond high school -- whether that means moving on to vocational training, joining the workforce, enlisting in the military or pursuing a post-secondary degree.

To understand why the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards are necessary, consider the issues our schools and employers have been trying to address.

In 2012, about 32 percent of high school graduates in Allegheny County received diplomas despite failing to show proficiency in math and reading. . .
If these under-prepared graduates went on to post-secondary education, there's a good chance they'd either drop out or have to take time-consuming and costly remedial courses to learn what they should have learned in high school.

This lack of preparedness damages the region's economy, too. According to the state Department of Labor and Industry, nearly 7,000 job openings in seven Western Pennsylvania counties went unfilled for 90 days or more this year, in large part because employers couldn't find adequately skilled workers.

The fact is, giving a high school diploma to a student who is not proficient cheats the student and the taxpayers. . .
The standards don't tell teachers how to structure their lesson plans, they don't dictate which textbooks your kids have to use, and they don't undermine local control by school districts. The standards simply set the bar for what our students should know at each grade level. They serve as a floor of basic academic expectations, not a ceiling that limits a student's learning. If a school or district wants to set a higher academic bar than what is dictated by the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, they are free to do so.

To ensure that academic standards are being met, our public schools use the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments and the Keystone Exams. The Keystone Exams are used in high school to ensure graduate preparedness, and when students fail a Keystone Exam, they can get additional instruction and re-take them. The goal is to make sure we aren't failing those students by letting them graduate unprepared.

Those who say we should abandon Pennsylvania Common Core Standards don't have a workable alternative.

Doing so would mean stranding the commonwealth's students on an island of academic mediocrity and lost opportunities. Our students, parents, employers and taxpayers deserve better."


Questioner said...

Statements like this go beyond the facts; it would be unusual for articles to offer no impressions or analysis:

"Lately, there's been a lot of negative chatter about the Common Core, much of it based on ill-informed speculation that it is a federal government plot to "take over" our local schools, dictate classroom curriculum or compile databases on our kids for some sinister, unstated purpose."

Anonymous said...

Here is the source for the article on
Common Core.
May 5, 2013 12:21 am
By Joan Benso and David Patti

Read more:

Anonymous said...

As is continually stated here, support what is stated with some evidence.

The article does that and the support for the facts is devastating, particularly for those who are categorized as "in poverty".

The people with money blow it all off by focusing on negative chatter, speculation, plots, take over, etc., NONE of which are consistent with the facts.

Questioner said...

Who are the peoe with money- foundations?

Anonymous said...

The problem with common core is not the standards, it is what is/has been taught for a long time. The problem is that until students are accountable to meet the standards, or proficiency is required to be promoted to the next grade nothing will change by simply stating standards in a new package. New standards do not increase achievement

Anonymous said...

Fascinating article!
The essence is in the title:
LEARNING? With sections on predicting the effect of the Common Core State Standards, achievement gaps on the two NAEP tests, and misinterpreting international test scores."

Much of it is based on erroneous assumptions, misinterpreting and unfounded predictions. One fatal error is to equate the Common Core Standards with a common core curriculum. The two are inherently and vastly different.

And 6:20 is correct in all statements above especially the last which states: "New standards will not increase achievement."

While the "new" standards are more complex and elevate critical thinking skills, ONLY IMPROVED TEACHING and LEARNING WILL INCREASE ACHIEVEMENT. (Students who have not learned the current minimum standard skills will not increase their achievement levels, rather they will only decrease achievement under higher standards UNLESS teaching is improved in ways that students learn the more critical thinking skills required!)

It can and should be done, but only high quality teaching will improve students' learning of the more complex Common Core Standards.