With just three more weeks of rest and relation on the beach left this Summer, educators across the country are gearing up for another year that will great them many of them with new standards of teaching, new curricula, and new battles to fight. Meanwhile, the fiery hot Common Core debate shows no sign of cooling down.
With passions and rhetoric on both sides of the isle pushing the boundaries of civil discourse, and with an overwhelming amount of information and misinformation being tossed back and forth, we decided to the topic of our STEM Reads roundup this week would be Common Core.
Check out our picks for five civil, thought-provoking posts on Common Core this past week (minus the politics and fist fights). As always, let us know if you’ve ready any worth mentioning in the Comments below and enjoy the last days of Summer!
What are teachers and educational leaders on the frontlines saying about Common Core now? Erin Richards (@erinrichards), of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, talks to real teachers and principals in the trenches and gets their thoughts on Common Core. As is to be expected, these teachers had various opinions on the hot-button topic. Perhaps the feedback from Whitewater High School teacher Mike Tamblyn offers the most compelling and grounding thoughts, “Teaching is a very isolated job; the Common Core State Standards offers a chance for nationwide collaboration. The thing that scares most people is changing the way we do things.”
Find out what these 12 teachers think about Common Core as we head into a new school year, discover one new possible hybrid solution that may keep everyone happy, check out what the Milwaukee community thinks in the Comments section at the end of the post, and hear how a select few are kicking fear of change to the curb to lead their students in learning. Full article HERE.
Leading education analyst Michael J. Petrilli (@MichaelPetrilli), President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, offers a thought-provoking analysis of education reform in these trying times. He immediately takes the bull by the horns by opening with the following tough questions:
“Are the policies we’re promoting likely to work in the real world? Do our various reforms fit well together? Do they create the space for excellent educators to do great work, while putting pressure on dysfunctional systems to change? How can we make sure that the major elements of the policy agenda fit well together and are not working at cross-purposes? How can we enable educators to create coherent learning environments in their schools?”
Far from offering a quick, easy, tweetable fix, Petrilli delves deep into the foundational problems of education reform, the emotions and psychology that clouds judgment and the true driving forces behind education policies that all too often divide us, like Common Core. Whatever the ultimate solutions, Petrilli calls for everyone in ed reform to exercise, “humility, flexibility, and trust—qualities in short supply lately, especially in Washington.” Go deep with Petrilli HERE.
Laura Laing’s first installment of a 5-part, myth-busting look at Common Core math on her blog Math for Grownups, offers no-nonsense comparison of Virginia’s traditional Standards of Learning and Common Core for the educator who may find the mountain of conflicting information on Common Core to daunting to process. Laing (@mathforgrownups) is not only keenly aware of the deliberate confusions perpetuated in some Common Core circles, she’s on a mission to separate fact from fiction: “In recent months, there’s been a tremendous amount of buzz regarding an educational change called Common Core. And a ton of that buzz perpetuates down-right false information. There’s so much to say about this that I’ve developed a five-part series debunking these myths — or outright lies, if you’re being cynical.”
Using a fifth grade Common Core math problem, Laing explains the complexities of Common Core and how it can actually help better prepare students for real world issues they would face in getting hired for a job today. Want to know how Laing thinks Common Core could actually better serve the brightest students who simply think differently? Read her Common Core Common Sense post HERE.
Co-Founder of the U.S. Coalition for World Class Math, Barry Garelick (@BarryGarelick), chimes in on the Math Wars, and takes on New York Times contributor Elizabeth Green (@elizwgreen). Green is CEO of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news organization. Garelick rebuts Green’s theory that all math should be taught using reform math techniques, digs into Common Core teaching style, challenges implementation as the problem, debates which countries are doing US math best, breaks down first and second grade examples, and throws down the gauntlet for his literary opponent to make a comeback. The post was much-discussed and shared in the Twitter-sphere. Read the entire post at Heartland News HERE.
Chief Learning Officer of BrightBytes, Gayle Allen (@GAllenTC), pulls broadens the focus on education reform from looking at the specifics of divisive policies like Common Core and MOOCs to discuss the bigger implications behind policy change (how to implement it, reinforce it and grow from it). Her solution — The New 3Rs, “Currently, there seems to be a gap between what our schools and universities teach and the lifelong learning skills students must learn to master on their own… Today’s graduates must navigate a changing job market and a glut of learning options. As educators, we have the opportunity to help them learn how to adapt and respond to this change. And I believe these 3Rs will help our students do just that.” Do you agree? Check out Allen’s post for a breakdown of the new 3Rs HERE.
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