Cooking with the Common Core

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There is a great interview with teacher blogger Fawn Nguyen about the Common Core over at Cathy O’Neil’s blog. She likens standards to a list of ingredients you have to use, as on those cooking shows, and curriculum is the dish you make with them. Not a perfect analogy, as she admits, but useful in helping people see the difference between standards and curriculum. And I love the bit at the end where she likens the mathematical practices to cooking techniques:

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Educators Dispell Myths

What Do Teachers Really Think About Common Core?

For those whose lives aren’t spent working in education with educators, it’s easy to believe the hype that teachers in general are vehemently opposed to–and outraged by–the Common Core. But those of us who spend our Monday to Friday working in education, alongside fellow educators can tell you a different tale.

As a recent survey reports, “teachers are enthusiastic about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, even as they acknowledge challenges ahead.” Teachers are sophisticated critical thinkers, and can view the Common Core standards as separate from teacher evaluation and high stakes testing. Funny how the anti-ccss movement never takes the time to parse out those details. Who needs details and data when you’ve got fear and intimidation, amirite? Continue reading

Coming Together to Support the Common Core at NCTM

This week at NCTM, there will be an opportunity to connect with others around the country who support the implementation of the Common Core!

It will be Thursday morning in the Networking Lounge which will be in the Buzz Hub in the exhibit hall. Linda Gojak will be there at 9:30 am to start the conversation. There is no set agenda. It’s mainly an opportunity for those of us who are interested in supporting the Common Core to share ideas, ask questions, and decide how we each might respond to the anti-Common Core movement in our respective states. We will be there from 9:30 am and will need to wrap up before 11:30 when another topic is scheduled.

Hope to see you on Thursday morning!

Show Your Support for the Common Core

We’ve talked here on the blog about ways that we can be sharing our support for the Common Core Standards. We’ve mentioned leveraging the power of social media, and sharing our own stories of why we feel passionately about the standards.

Today I’d like to give you yet another way that you can be making your support of the Common Core known in a very concrete way:

Quiz: What Sorts of Standards does ANSI Certify?

Diane Ravitch wrote an article for the Huffington post saying that the “fatal flaw” of the Common Core was that it failed to comply with the “recognized protocol for writing standards” of the American National Standards Institute. I was curious why this objection had never come up before in the 20 years of state standards writing—why the states had not demanded that we follow this protocol. Find out after the jump …. Continue reading

Quiz: of the two methods in that viral Facebook post, which one is explicitly required by the Common Core?

So, this “Common Core problem” has been making the rounds. In it a student is asked to correct a number line method of subtraction, and the parent is basically saying why not do it the good old fashioned way? Of the two methods, the only one that is required by the Common Core is the parent’s way:

4.NBT.4. Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.

No previous state standards, including Indiana’s, had such an explicit requirement for fluency with the standard algorithm. Now that Indiana has opted out of the Common Core, this parent had better hope they do not drop this requirement.

It is true that the standards also require students to understand place value, which I take as the goal of this problem. But there are many other ways to do that.

Cathy Kessel Takes on Common Core Critiques

Recently certain high-profile folks in education seem to be decrying the Common Core. But, as I’ve posted before, it’s important for us to *ahem* attend to precision as we discuss and take on these discussions, to not conflate things like standards and assessment; and to speak with the level of nuance and complexity that we know exists in the field of education.

Our friend and colleague, Cathy Kessel, graciously took on a recent public talk at the MLA conference as an opportunity to address many of the so-called problems with the Common Core: Continue reading

What I want for my grandchildren

Just to be clear, I don’t have any grandchildren yet, even though I have three daughters in their 20s (hint hint, daughters).

But what I want for my grandchildren when they arrive is a local public school where they can learn to read and write, learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide, learn to make arguments, learn to use ratios, learn to read Shakespeare and Feynman, learn to interpret the graphs and paragraphs they read in the news,  learn to reject false persuasions and check facts through research. Continue reading