Of Constitutional Conventions And The Common Core

From Georgia Public Broadcasting >>

In part:

Here’s a short list of the issues addressed Tuesday at the Capitol, through legislation on the floor or in committee or through a rally or press conference:

*Convening a new Constitutional convention to introduce amendments aimed at reining in federal spending

*Barring the use of Georgia tax dollars from implementing any part of the Affordable Healthcare Act

*Officially “legalizing” the use of the phrases “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”

*Disentangling Georgia’s schools from the Common Core curriculum standards currently in use here and in 45 other states

*Allowing small groups of regions to band together to pay for transportation projects the state won’t fund

*And, last but not least, considering state expenditures for 2015 (as in, budget subcommittees)

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Is Common Core The New Obamacare?

Let’s move on to the Common Core. The curriculum has become a political hot potato with some conservative Republicans decrying it as a federal takeover of Georgia’s education system. In fact, judging from interviews and posters at a rally at the Capitol Tuesday, the new mantra is: “Common Core will do to the educational system what Obamacare is doing to the healthcare system.”

A Republican strategist even lamented recently that Pres. Obama boosted the anti-Common Core movement simply by saying something nice about the curriculum standards.

Common Core is used by nearly all of the states in the U.S. and it’s voluntary. Georgia adopted the standards in 2012, and while Gov. Deal has called for a review, he hasn’t backed opting out. But that hasn’t dissuaded people like state Sen. William Ligon of Brunswick from filing legislation to remove Georgia from the Common Core.

Who’s the face of the movement? It could be Jean Garner from Cherokee County, a retired Air Force service member who worries the Common Core tramples over each child’s individuality. She came down to the Capitol to make her voice heard.

“Everyone’s unique and different,” she said in an interview. “And these types of systems that make everyone equal and everyone the same are wrong. There are always some people who excel, and there are always those who enjoy being in the middle and there are always those who need extra help. Why do you drag everyone down or push everyone up to be the same?”

Coomon-core-logo

Introducing The Common Corettes

To the Republicans who back the Common Core, including Gov. Nathan Deal, Garner said, “There are a lot of reasons people back this – maybe it’s lucrative. I don’t know exactly why they do. And then there’s also that thing that people don’t like to say they made a mistake.”

Many Georgia teachers are worried the state will succumb to pressure and opt out of the standard. Georgia’s 2014 Teacher of The Year, Jemellah Coes, said as much as at an education policy conference last month. She said if Georgia abandons the Common Core, it will waste three years of training teachers have undergone to learn the standards.

Garner admits Georgia would have chalk up the money and time devoted to get up to speed on another curriculum. But she said it’s better to admit you’ve made a mistake than continue making the mistake.

Want to hear more? You will. On Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education will take the unprecedented step of announcing the formation of a new coalition in support of the Common Core State Standards. The two groups plan to put forth business, education and community leaders who will talk about the importance of improving education.

Read more here >> Of Constitutional Conventions And The Common Core

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For more on the topic >>

The new “Common Core” assessments have been released

A Sneak Peak at Common Core Test Questions

Here are some resources for parents and teachers >>

Literacy and the Common Core: Explore interdisciplinary approaches to literacy, discover how poetry fits within the standards, and find out what the latest research says about building vocabulary.
literacy-and-the-cc-2013-sponsored

Changing State of Assessment: Discover how formative assessments support teaching and learning and see how testing is changing in the common-core era.
spotlight-the-changing-state-of-assessment-sponsored

Common Core Curriculum – state & county >>

Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (Georgia Dept of Education)

Cobb County’s informational web page on the subject with several good links

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UPDATE June 18, 2014

Common Core and PARCC standards are transforming the face of education as we know it. Today, educators must identify new ways to empower their students with the 21st century skills needed to meet these evolving requirements. Download this infographic to learn about the solutions that are shaping the future of students and faculty alike.

THE_GovConnection_Shape the Future Infographic

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32 Responses to Of Constitutional Conventions And The Common Core

  1. Fred in DeKalb says:

    It is ironic that Sonny Perdue was a driving force in the birth of the Common Core standards yet many Republicans no longer support it due to bi partisan support, specifically from the President. This kind of thinking is why Georgia will keep its negative reputation with respect to the K-12 program. Why would people be against knowing how Georgia students compare to other states students based on a common standard? A curriculum could be designed to exceed the standards while also providing an alternate track for those that may want to go into the workforce after high school.

    Georgia has already made a 3 year investment in teachers, preparing them for Common Core. We risk losing that investment the anti CC forces are successful. Add to that, an additional investment for developing a new standard and curriculum would be required. Is that in Georgia’s best interest if we want to prepare our students to compete in the global economy?

    Despite the fact that many successful people come from this state through public education, the lack of support for Common Core will be viewed negatively by businesses considering Georgia in the coming years. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a strong proponent of CC. Though I can’t say for certain, this anti CC movement seems as though it may have the support of ALEC. in general, citizens need to learn more about ALEC and the changes they are proposing to public education. Many legislators in Georgia are ALEC members.

  2. Stan Jester says:

    Common Core is No Path to Prosperity
    Nancy Jester recently published this article in the Marietta Daily Journal. Depending on whom you ask, Common Core is described as something from voluntary national standards to a federal takeover of education. So, what is it and what’s really going on? Continue reading here >>

    George Will recently spoke out against Common Core in this editorial. Once you’ve lost George Will, you’ve lost the battle in Georgia.

    The problem isn’t necessarily the standards themselves. The problem is the centralized structure. Innovation and customization are not products of, or well tolerated by, a bureaucracy. Yet, we know these are two important drivers of success. Accountability is another problem. The standards are copy write protected and not subject to adjustments by the state. Even if we are in agreement with today’s standards, our opinions could change as the standards are adjusted in the future.

    The least effective argument for Common Core is that we will be able to compare students from state to state. Georgia and 8 other states have already pulled out of the Common Core PARCC assessment due to its high cost. Four other states are considering withdrawing. Still, 4 other states never joined PARCC and rejected Common Core to begin with. So, with potentially 17 states not participating in the assessment, the data and ability to compare students from state to state will be limited at best. We have decades of data on criterion normed tests such as the ITBS. If comparisons are important they can be made from existing, well established and cheaper tests.

    I am an advocate for strong standards. I’m also an advocate for decentralized decision making and innovation. The choice is not whether or not to have strong standards. The choice is about accountability to Georgia’s citizens. We need improvement in education and we need a better return for our tax dollars. Common Core does not provide that.

  3. DeAnn Peterson says:

    This reminds me of switching lanes at the grocery store. Every time you switch the line you left moves faster than the line you are in. So we are three years down the CC road and NOW we complain? Yes, lets change standards again and point some more fingers at the teachers who are not getting any achievement out of the students. Sarcasm intended. CC standards are good standards. Next Gen (the science CC standards) are good standards. The problem is the cost of the testing. Can we separate the issues please?

  4. Fred in DeKalb says:

    *In a word, yes — states can make changes to the Common Core. That’s according to a spokesman for Achieve, the education non-profit that helped develop the Common Core.

    “States can do whatever they want and always have been able to,” writes Chad Colby in an email to StateImpact. “There is no limit to what changes, additions or subtractions a state wants to make.”

    Colby says as a rule of thumb, states are encouraged to add no more than 15 percent to the standards. Otherwise, he says it would negate the “commonness” of the standards.

    As for the copyright, the Common Core State Standards are held under a public license that gives states who fully adopt the standards broad permission to use and reprint them. Colby says the main reason for copyrighting the standards was to protect the rights of the states who developed them. He says it also helps protects against charges that the federal government had a hand in writing the Common Core.

    “The copyright proves that the federal government does not own nor control the standards,” writes Colby*

    @Stan, we could go back and forth regarding CC. There is a lot of good information, both pro and con regarding CC. I’ll defer to those interested in learning more about Common Core do their own research rather than posting links supporting my position. I am for it. Given ALEC is reportedly against it raise some of my suspicions about the opposition.

  5. Teachers matter says:

    Oh my goodness, powers that be, make up your minds! I spent many hours watching the Common Core training videos (I would rather have been poked in the eye with a sharp stick.), and now you’re not sure. Are you kidding me! I’m a busy person with a hundred kids depending on me to know what’s going on. I don’t want to let them down, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just teach.

  6. Beverly Fraud says:

    Sorry but it’s not just “a set of standards.” Even proponents of the Common Core such as the National Governors Association have admitted the standards are merely a linchpin to completely take over education in the United States. Just the data mining alone should give one pause. Some questions to consider:

    Why has FERPA law been quietly changed to let school systems collect data, and then sell it to private third parties as THEY see fit?

    -Do you really want the government checking seating posture, using facial cameras and wireless skin conductors on your child, all with the ability to sell the data to a private third party?

    Sounds crazy, tinfoil hat crazy in fact, until you see if for yourself in an actual document from
    the National Center for Education Statistics

    http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

    Scroll to page 60-65; you might not think this is merely about “standards” after all

    And enough of the “right” doesn’t support Common Core. Serious concerns are being raised by BOTH sides of the political spectrum. As well they should be, until the federal government can FULLY explain why questions about religious affiliation, and political views of family members of students are ANY business of the federal government. But these types of things are potentially tied in to RTTT money and RTTT is no doubt tied into Common Core.

    I’m not sure if every objection to the Common Core being raised is legitimate; but think about the disingenuous spin the Arne Duncan’s of the world are giving it,(remember the trips he made down to APS to politically protect Beverly Hall AFTER the cheating scandal broke?) Think about the Michelle Rhees of the world pushing it (every bit as morally bankrupt as Beverly Hall, even if she doesn’t get indicted) Think about the money tied into the effort, the political think tanks in support of it, and the literal MILLIONS donated to them by the Gates Foundation.

    Factor all these things in, as well as the fact that several on the task force REFUSED to sign off on the final product, and I don’t think it’s the least bit crazy to want to get FULL disclosure of what potentially be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  7. The Peach Pundit recently posted on this topic as well >>

    Equivalent Expressions and the Common Core Standards

    It’s a good post with really good discussion comments.

  8. Beverly Fraud says:

    Re: “Oh my goodness, powers that be, make up your minds!”
    I feel your pain teacher; but the fact is they DID make up their mind; with no input from you (ok, to be fair, MINIMAL input from you)

    They had their reasons, (hint: follow the money-do YOU need to know your students/families religious/political affiliations in order to TEACH, or does that benefit the “data miners” that are embedded in this effort?)

    Again, this isn’t “just standards” and anybody who spins in that way is, in a word, LYING.

    It’s standards, assessments, and data mining, all tied up in a tidy little package, along with a Gates funded “teacher evaluation instrument” to keep you the class teacher “in line” with THEIR chosen methods of teaching.

    They did make up their minds; it’s just that a BI PARTISAN group of people got wind of the implications of “just standards” and are doing their best to shine a spotlight on it (Again, anybody who says it’s just the radical right who opposes Common Core is, in a word, LYING)

    It’s no mistake Obama talked about education in the State of the Union address but specifically omitted the words “Common Core.” Nice try, but the genie is already out of the bottle, and all of Arne Duncan’s comments about “white suburban mom’s” isn’t going to put it back again, anymore than Duncan’s comments about Beverly Hall being a great leader was going to make the APS cheating scandal go away.

    I feel your pain teacher, but for your sake I hope it stays out long enough to have a real discussion about empowering teachers, with the EXACT same amount of vigor as we do having conversations about “holding them accountable” with pseudoscientific methods such as “value added” created by people who have ZERO accountability to voters.

  9. Ella says:

    I understand there could be issues with some standards. However, I do think it is good to have standards in common with other states so we can see how we are doing in education compared to other states. Without common standards the comparison is difficult. As teachers begin to be paid for performance I see having common standards from state to state as also being a positive thing also. There is always pro and con regarding any decision. Apparently the decision has already been made so lets make the best of the change.

    Change is hard but it sometimes ends up being a positive thing.

  10. Teachers matter says:

    In typical bureaucratic fashion, a new initiative was adopted before being fully vetted and then those of us forced to implement it have to deal with changes that predictably come along. Beverly Fraud, I agree with much of what you said (especially about the money), but shouldn’t the discussions have taken place prior to implementation?

  11. Teachers matter says:

    …and to be honest, I’m sick of being “accountable” for pretty much everything!

  12. Beverly Fraud says:

    Re: Apparently the decision has already been made so lets make the best of the change.

    Yes Ella let’s just play into their hands-the decision has been made (never mind it was made with possibly hidden agendas in mind, and definitely WITHOUT the “sunlight that’s the best disinfectant”.)

    So let’s just go along with it, no matter how children might be damaged by it, and the rights of parents abridged by it?

    Are you sure that’s the way you want to go Ella?

  13. Ella says:

    First and foremost I respect difference of opinions. Difference of opinion is a good thing.

    I have been around in education a few years, and change is just part of the job. I remember how upset I was when so many changes occurred in the past. However, the changes were never as bad as I thought they would be.

    As educator the change of being paid on performance is right around the corner also, and there are so many problems/issues that will arise with this regarding fairness. However, I suspect “Pay for Performance in Education,” will happen. These issues/problems regarding fairness will have to be worked out over time. Of course there will be issues that arise with the “Common Core Standards” and these also will be worked out over time.

    I feel sure that the “Common Core Standards” will act as guiding principles for educators across the state. I feel sure that educators will be able to build on these standards. Teachers teach the standards in class and many other items that the teachers or the Professional Learning Community feels are important for students to understand regarding the unit being taught.

    Maybe I am just very respectful of the decisions teachers or their Professional Learning Communities make. I feel that the teacher continues to be the most important tools regarding students’ learning and I have faith in the teachers to make good decisions.

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  15. I am not an expert on Common Core. But I recall from my training that it was a Governors’ initiative, not a Presidential one. Since over 40 governors wanted it, it made sense for the Feds to become interested. So let’s blame the governors, not President Obama, for CC.
    I also recall being told that our Georgia Performance Standards were not that far from CC. It seems the major change is the level of rigor involved. The main problem for teachers and students is that the rigor skyrocketed, giving the average or lower children a ridiculously high and sudden change in skill levels required.
    My experience as a teacher was that nothing was ever given a fair chance to succeed. We barely understood one “new approach” before it was replaced with another flash in the pan initiative. I believe that if the powers that be (who know nothing about reality) should just leave things alone, teachers would be able to teach and children would indeed learn.

  16. Beverly Fraud says:

    Re teachertaxpayer :I am not an expert on Common Core.

    With all due respect teachertaxpayer I suggest you become more of one…quickly. As such, you’ll learn:

    The Common Core was written by Achieve.Inc. a PRIVATE trade group. Run by a former FEDERAL Dept. of Ed. official Michael Cohen.

    They also wrote the PARCC, so we have a PRIVATE trade group dictating to states (through FEDERAL “carrot and stick” of RTTT money and NCLB waivers)

    Re: But I recall from my training that it was a Governors’ initiative, not a Presidential one.

    So basically, the people PAID to push Common Core are being COMPLETELY disingenuous about its origins.

    Re: It seems the major change is the level of rigor involved.

    Yes, that’s the way the Common Core people are trying to spin it. A more accurate description may be the increasing number of people who point out the many instances they are NOT age appropriate and how Common Core was written limited at best input from early childhood education groups.

    Again, this is NOT “just standards” Do a quick google pro AND con, and see if you don’t see enough to see the completely disingenuous nature of how this is being foisted on an unsuspecting public.

    Follow the money…

  17. Beverly Fraud says:

    Re (from Ella)
    “Maybe I am just very respectful of the decisions teachers or their Professional Learning Communities make.”

    Ella, this is THE very point I am trying to make. Common Core has being foisted upon teachers with COMPLETE disrespect and an almost total LACK of input from the average classroom teacher.

    It’s no mistake that math and language arts educators on the committee REFUSED to sign off on the final product.

    It’s also no mistake that many of the think tanks that support Common Core (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Education Week magazine) have been given MASSIVE amounts of funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The same people who paid for the Common Core.

    Worried yet?

    Finally Ella I leave you with your own quote to think about:
    “I remember how upset I was when so many changes occurred in the past. However, the changes were never as bad as I thought they would be.”

    Yes Ella, the changes were bad. If you have truly been around, you remember Whole Language-a complete disaster. “New math” another disaster. Locally, a dozen years of “change” and data driven reform at APS (with the constant reminder “change is hard”) was EVERY BIT as bad as those who opposed it thought it would be. In fact it was no less than ACADEMIC GENOCIDE for a generation of APS children.

    Just the disingenuous nature of Common Core ALONE is enough justification to give pause. When you read about the data mining and federal overreach that are PART and PARCEL of the Common Core” (and for that matter the “evaluation instruments” designed to make sure teachers are marching in LOCKSTEP) you will quickly come to realize these are NOT “just standards” and if you TRULY support teachers, at the very least you will support the “sunlight is the BEST disinfectant” in terms of FULL disclosure of who’s behind Common Core and what in their agenda.

    It’s certainly NOT “for the children”

    Spend 30 minutes reading BOTH sides of the argument and see if you don’t have SERIOUS reservations…

  18. Ella says:

    Beverly Fraud the past Secretary of Educations new math was a totally mess.

    Our students in Georgia are totally lost in the new Common Core Standards or GPS Standards in math. The National Core Standards are simple but appear to be more appropriate for the general education students we are serving today in our public schools according to the math teachers I have discuss this with. Our general education students in high school are totally lost regardless of what standards we use.

    I have found that most changes were not as bad as I thought. For instance, I have had three changes in the last 10 years in IEP programs. Each one has been better than the one before but the process was painful. This is just my opinion.

    The new teachers’ evaluations has some good changes but it also has some very unrealistic changes.

    We can agree to disagree. It is just a difference of opinion.

    I do know that most of the teachers I have worked with or that my children have had in DeKalb County are quality professionals and have had to learn to be flexible with the changes. It is true that educators seldom get asked regarding their opinions. I would like to see this change. More teachers need to get involved into political positions in the future so these changes may be able to be made in the future.

    I like your energy for your beliefs. I respect your viewpoints. They absolutely do not need to be the same as mine for me to respect your individuality.

  19. Ella says:

    Teacher matters I am tired of being accountable for everything also.

    Teaching has turned into an impossible job and we absolutely do not get paid enough.

  20. @Beverly Fraud Thanks for your observations on my last post. FYI, I am thrilled to be retired and have no intention of getting more educated on Common Core. I prefer to use my time doing something beneficial so I do volunteer work at my former school, one child at a time. It is very rewarding.

    You seem to have the impression I am a proponent of CC. I am actually just a proponent of stopping the nonsense. I do agree, and said I did, that the rigor is absurd. Just because you want children to be ready to learn a skill does not mean they are developmentally ready to do so. I think the decision-makers are doing all this because they are in a panic trying to keep up with the statistics of other countries which either do not educate and test all children or have cultures that support a major emphasis on education.

    Aside from the rigor issue, my main concern is that there are no textbooks to support CC. Teachers are being given a basic curriculum and some (not all) commercial children’s books referred to in the curriculum, but they have to flesh it out by searching for information all over the internet or at the DeKalb website (I forget the name) that is a nightmare to negotiate. Thus the child’s learning is not only in part dependent on the teacher’s skill as a teacher, but also on the teacher’s ability/time to create appropriate lessons or work with his/her teammates to create them. And it seems that every year, after teachers spend untold hours doing just that, the requirements change again and teachers get to do it all over again. Having lived it, i can say, it stinks to be only one step ahead of where the children are.

    That’s all for now. Beverly, please don’t pick this post apart as I have no time to try to respond to all your comments. Thanks.

  21. Beverly Fraud says:

    taxpayerteacher,

    I think we have more agreement than disagreement.

    I advocate people learn more about Common Core, because it is the LACK of knowledge about its true intentions that is shaping the debate and allowing the Arne Duncans of the world to dismiss those with legitimate concerns as “fringe.” (Yes there may be “fringe” people against it, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t MANY legitimate concerns)

    This may be THE key point of your post:

    Re: And it seems that every year, after teachers spend untold hours doing just that, the requirements change again and teachers get to do it all over again.

    Teachers, like all humans are FINITE beings with FINITE time and energy. Trying to dismiss that by saying “teaching is a calling” whenever teachers are asked to sacrifice time AND pay is disingenuous at best, morally reprehensible at worst.

    Children deserve teachers who haven’t been put through the emotional ringer by mandates that don’t pass scientific scrutiny (i.e. the vast majority of pedagogical fads) pushed by people whose motivations are suspect at best. They aren’t going to get them with Common Core.

    Follow the money…

  22. Beverly Fraud says:

    To All:
    Notice both Iowa and Florida have dropped the name “Common Core”. Haven’t dropped the standards, just the name. As has Arizona. All in a deliberate attempt to stifle dissent.

    “Rebranding” it they’ve called it, in an attempt to confuse the public and stop LEGITIMATE debate. As the governor of Hawaii attempted to do with his claim that ““I think it’s a misstatement to say there’s an argument over Common Core standards because they were developed with teachers…”

    Um governor, two of the educators involved in the writing REFUSED to sign off. Clearly as such, your statement is a bald face LIE to the voters of your state.

    When Common Core advocates (not bloggers who run the gamut from literate to insane, but those in CHARGE of pushing the Core through) have to resort to intellectually dishonest tactics such as this, what does it say about the ethics and integrity of those pushing Common Core?

  23. Stan Jester says:

    Beverly Fraud,
    That’s very interesting. I’m glad you brought this re-branding initiative to my attention. A couple of the state superintendent candidates keep saying Common Core is a flawed brand, and I didn’t understand until now where they were going with that rhetoric. The state superintendent race will be a proxy for Common Core.

    Opposing Common Core – Nancy Jester, Mary Kay
    Advocating Common Core – Ashley Bell, Kara Willis
    Advocate Re-branding Common Core – Fitz Johnson, Matt Schultz

  24. Beverly Fraud says:

    Stan,

    Common Core may be the single biggest issue the voters should be concerned about; not because of “the standards” themselves, but because of ALL that goes along with them, and the ENORMOUS implications concerning how children are taught and how schools are run.

    I would say that good policies usually come from a good process; an open, honest, ethical and most of all fully transparent process. Common Core, (whether you are for or against) CLEARLY did not.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant they say, (got rid of the twin molds Pope and Lewis did it not?) so I hope this blog will revisit the issue again.

  25. Dekalbite2 says:

    @Beverly Fraud
    “Yes Ella, the changes were bad. If you have truly been around, you remember Whole Language-a complete disaster. “New math” another disaster. ”

    So why do you term “new math” a disaster. That is your opinion. As someone who taught “new math” in the 1070s, my opinion is completely different. The term “new math” actually originates from that time period.

    Did you teach “new math” in the 1970s? I did. For students who could understand this way of learning math (really most average to above average in mental ability students which encompasses the vast majority of children – low, middle and high income), this way of teaching math ensures that students understand the fundamental processes of math.

    I remember my 4th grade parents didn’t like the “new math” because many of them didn’t understand it well enough to help their children.

    But for the 4th grade much of it was really just as simple as understanding grouping and regrouping some of the fundamentals of the 1970s “new math” are still in the curriculum today.. Most of us raised before “new math” learned to borrow and carry. The 1 carried in the tens place was a 1 to us. In “new math” my 4th graders understood that if you went past 9 in the ones place, then the number 10 was moved to the tenth place since it represented the numerical value of 10. So they didn’t just borrow 1 or carry 1, they were taught place value and regrouping, fundamental mathematical processes.

    My 4th graders (and BTW I taught in a lower income area, mostly single moms, and 95% apartment kids) learned that you can solve for X=40 – 20 therefore X=20. They learned that they needed to work the problem out to balance the equation by showing me this and then that 20=20 was a balanced equation. They learned the difference in associative, distributive and commutative properties and could apply these properties appropriately – unlike me who went through high school algebra just memorizing formulas and plugging in numbers. “New math” laid the foundation for truly understanding when and how to use these functions. They were required to memorize their multiplication tables and their addition and subtraction facts, but they also understood the fundamentals such as multiplication was really repeated addition and division was really repeated subtraction.

    “New math” also relied heavily on mental math. They became very good at estimating/rounding and also very skilled at solving a problem in their heads. They loved to use their brains to solve a problem in their heads when they used mental math. For example, if you add 42 + 28, in mental math, estimate/round to add 40 + 30 to get 70 (7 in the place value of ten). Then mentally add the 2 and 8 which is 10 (regrouped as 1 in the place value of ten) to get the answer of 80. Every class period had a considerable amount of mental math practice.

    We wonder how students in other countries can do these calculations in their heads. It starts by memorization of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts, understanding of the the structure of the number system and then practice, practice, practice. The more you practice mental math, the better you get. The more you work word problems, the better you get. The more you balance equations the better you get.

    Yes. “New math” is tougher to teach and tougher to learn, but ask any high school math teacher if mastery of the skills above are not important before they take algebra. “New math” was fun for my 4th graders. It took the mystification out of math. They loved the mental math. They understood the idea of equations and balance. Of course, the memorization of multiplication tables, etc. was something they had to master in order to acquire these higher level thinking skills. That is absolutely critical. But that is so basic. Our students need to LIKE math. They need to feel comfortable doing mental computations in their heads. They need to understand the basic math functions, not just memorize formulas.

    So IMO – ” new math” was wonderful for kids. I wish every child had access to “new math”.

    I won’t even go into whole language. My students were heavily immersed in the 80s in whole language before DeKalb ever adopted it, and I continued to use that method throughout my teaching career. This is another practical application of skills that students/adults should use all of their lives. You can make a student copy 20 sentences that lack capital letters and make them use capitals. But when they write their own sentences, that does not transfer. In whole language, they write their own sentences and then they – proof, proof and proof some more. They proof their peers’ stories and vice versa. And they ALWAYS have an audience for their work. How many adults write just for themselves? Give me well crafted stories that students have written, edited, and labored over until it is as perfect as they can make it for the audience they are targeting. Prewriting, writing, editing, and presenting or otherwise communicating with another person/people. That’s “whole language”. I guess you can guess my opinion of that.

  26. Dekalbite2 says:

    Oops on my mental math example:
    “For example, if you add 42 + 28, in mental math, estimate/round to add 40 + 30 to get 70 (7 in the place value of ten). Then mentally add the 2 and 8 which is 10 (regrouped as 1 in the place value of ten) to get the answer of 80. ”

    Should have been:
    For example, if you add 42 + 28, in mental math, estimate/round to add 40 + 30 to get 70 (7 in the place value of ten). Then mentally add think I took the 42 down 2 and the 28 up 2 so that equals 0. I’ve accounted for the rounding up and down so 70 is the answer”.

    Here is another one.:
    53 – 35. Go from 35 to 45 to 55 in your head. That is 20. But 53 is really 2 down from 55 so I have to take away 2 from 20 which leaves me with 18.

  27. Stan Jester says:

    US Senate Candidate Debate (Saturday in Gainesville)
    As reported by Jim Galloway,

    When asked whether Congress should intervene to kill Common Core, the new, multi-state set of education standards for public schools, businessman David Perdue noted that his parents were both school teachers.

    “If my dad were alive, he’d say kill it tonight,” the former CEO of Dollar General said. Never mind that his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, helped start the Common Core movement and defends it even today.

  28. Beverly Fraud says:

    Dekalbite2

    You may have been able to make the whole language approach work, granted. But overall the steadfast refusal of school to teach phonics lead to disastrous results. In other words, the “top down mandated to teachers” based often on political ideology, (ex: constructivist approach to learning) has been disastrous. Teachers who were EFFECTIVE using phonics based instruction were no longer allowed to use it.

    And that is the larger point I am trying to make. This is a TOP DOWN HEAVY HANDED approach, one that has NOT been field tested. It’s been foisted on teachers in the most disingenuous of ways. NEA and AFT claiming “widespread support” by teachers. Hmm…you think $5.4 MILLION dollars given to AFT and the $3.9 MILLION dollars given to NEA by the Gates Foundation might have influenced that particular spin?

    Add to that the millions more spent to develop “evaluation instruments” that use widely derided VAM and seem more interested in mandating how a teacher acts rather what a student actually learns, and what you have is essentially one person with a GROSSLY disproportionate effect on how teachers should teach.

    Again, this isn’t “just standards.” It’s a fundamental shift that was done in the most dishonest of ways, which is why they are currently “re-branding” them, because BOTH sides of the political spectrum are starting to see it for what it is. A power grab by an elite few.

  29. teachermom says:

    I agree Beverly Fraud that we are now under a top down and heavy handed approach. I just keep wondering how we got here. On the one hand, teachers are expected to be professionals, get advanced degrees, take new training, etc., while on the other they return to the classroom to be treated as widget makers who need to be constantly monitored and told how to do the smallest aspect of their job. I can’t even call this micromanaging because the orders are coming from too many levels up and are being instituted in a fashion that that makes them the new CULTURE of education, ie; online evaluations systems where we constantly have to document our instruction, student surveys, multiple “walk through” and evaluations. As we see these new “accountability” systems roll out we are losing the professionalism and craft that goes along with teaching. In Dekalb isn’t all the worse because of the lack of respect and support teachers had going in. Common Core is along for the ride.

  30. Janet Pierce says:

    SUNDAY ISSUE: COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
    THE EDITORIAL BOARD’S OPINION

    Preserving core values
    If legislative campaign against academic standards wins, our children will be the ones who lose.

    In beseeching the Georgia House Education Committee to reject a bill that would undo the Common Core State Standards here, Lee County High School teacher Coni Grebel pleaded, “I have now tasted rigor. Please do not send me back to mediocrity.”
    If the General Assembly adopts Senate Bill 167, it will not only send Grebel, a former Lee County Teacher of the Year, back to mediocrity, it will tether Georgia children to a second-rate education, devalue their high school degrees in the eyes of top colleges and affirm perceptions of this state as an academic wasteland.
    Not only does the sweeping bill essentially eviscerate Common Core, it mandates that Georgia stand alone in deciding what its students ought to learn and not borrow from other high-achieving states that banded together to create better standards. And we could not test our students in any way that would tell us how they compare to their peers elsewhere, even though they’ll compete against them for college slots and jobs. The bill imposes so many restrictions on online data that virtual schools in the state warn they’d have to shut down, and a flood of tech companies, including Google and IBM, have voiced concerns.
    Why? Because state senators and house members running for re-election fear they’ll alienate the small but vocal band of voters who see the federal government as enough of an enemy that they want Georgia and its schools to crawl into a bunker to stay safe.
    The state Senate has already passed this bill, so it now falls to House members to muster the political courage that their Senate colleagues could not. House Education Committee chair Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, and vice chair Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, both of whom have some of the most education-minded parents in the state in their districts, ought to listen to their colleagues asking them to kill this legislation. Otherwise, they risk the legacy of passing one of the most damaging education bills in modern Georgia history.
    Our children will not benefit from being shut off from academic standards that 75 percent of Georgia teachers surveyed last summer agreed were working. Coleman and Dudgeon concede that every school superintendent in the state voiced support of Common Core during a listening tour this summer.
    At an overflowing, three-hour public hearing Wednesday, the list of entities begging the House to leave the standards alone and put election year politics aside in favor of our children was long and impressive. It included representatives from the state’s private colleges; biotech, biochemistry and engineering alliances, PTAs, the chamber of commerce, retired generals and admirals, youth organizations, school boards, tech companies and associations of math, science and English teachers.
    “The Common Core is not the thing to pick up and poke the federal government with,” said Dan Funsch, president of the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “We should not use our children to express our frustration.”
    Of 68 speakers, only 10 spoke in opposition to Common Core, calling the standards an unconstitutional federal intrusion. But the standards were the product of the nation’s governors under the leadership of former Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue, who believed that students in Atlanta deserve to be taught in the same top academic framework as those in Boston and Minneapolis.
    Puzzled by the rationale for the bill, state Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, asked Senate sponsor William Ligon, R-Brunswick, to share three of the Common Core Standards that worried him. After spending two years denigrating the Common Core as inferior and now seeking to upend Georgia classrooms well-integrated into the math and reading standards, Ligon would be expected to easily cite examples of poorly drawn standards.
    His response to Carter: I’ll have to go and look and get back to you.
    In supporting Ligon, Tanya Ditty of Concerned Women for America, a social conservative organization, said that, while Georgia may have had a hand in developing the Common Core State Standards, “We don’t want a seat at the table. We want to own the table.”
    If SB 167 becomes law, Georgia will have its own table. It will be in the back of the room, and our children will be sitting there alone as their better-educated peers rise toward successful futures. That should not happen.
    Maureen Downey, for the AJC
    Editorial Board

  31. The latest from TIME magazine >>

    Indiana Drops Common Core Education Standards

    Legislation signed by Gov. Mike Pence makes Indiana the first state to step back from the standards that establish proficiency targets in math and reading. Critics slight the program as federal overreach and say Pence’s move will leave the benchmarks mostly intact

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation Monday making his the first state to withdraw from national Common Core education standards that have become a lightning rod for critics of federal government overreach.

    “I believe when we reach the end of this process there are going to be many other states around the country that will take a hard look at the way Indiana has taken a step back, designed our own standards and done it in a way where we drew on educators, we drew on citizens, we drew on parents and developed standards that meet the needs of our people,” Pence said.

    Indiana and 44 other states adopted Common Core standards in recent years. The program establishes targets for proficiency in math and reading and is designed to establish consistency and rigor in the nation’s education system.

    But the national education standards have been the focus of vocal criticism from conservative grassroots groups, who believe Common Core amounts to a government takeover of education. Critics have said Indiana’s new standards are strikingly similar to the Common Core framework and the new legislation is little more than a change in name rather than substance, the Associated Press reports.

    Other states have been taking similar steps to move away from Common Core, including Oklahoma, where a Senate panel endorsed a similar measure Monday.

  32. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Common Core | News
    Khan Academy Unveils New Math Resources for Common Core

    By Kanoe Namahoe
    03/24/14
    

    Attendees at last week’s CUE 2014 conference in Palm Springs, CA got a sneak peek at Khan Academy’s new math learning materials designed to support Common Core. The resources, offered free of charge, were unveiled during the closing keynote session presented by Khan Academy Founder Salman Khan.

    “This fall, the new Common Core standards are rolling out to millions of teachers and students across the country,” said Khan in a prepared statement. “And while the standards may be common, we know that students are not — every student has their own learning journey. This is why we are committed to personalized learning that lets students practice what they most need help on and lets teachers see where each student might need extra attention.”

    The new materials include interactive math exercises. The drills focus on “conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application — the three components of rigor emphasized by the Common Core.” Each exercise, for each standard, comes with a detailed explanation of the solution.

    Students move through the program, at their own pace, completing “missions” along the way. These grade-level exercises aim to help students “master all the concepts required by the Common Core math standards.” Missions are personalized for each learner. The system uses adaptive software that pinpoints areas of struggle, suggests new skills and tracks student progress.

    The new math materials were developed and assessed in partnership with educators and education organizations, including Illustrative Mathematics and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

    Khan Academy also offers a number of resources designed to help educators get ready for Common Core. The site includes a Common Core Map – to help find math drills by standard – and real-time reports that measure student performance against Common Core standards.

    Additional information about the new math materials is available at Khan Academy’s web site.
    https://www.khanacademy.org/

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