State board chair defends common core standards and integrated math

Here is the other side of the common core debate by Wanda Barrs, chair of the Georgia Board of Education,  a teacher and environmental educators. (You ought to read this in tandem with the blog entry prior.)

By Wanda Barrs

The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, co-chaired by Gov. Sonny Perdue, recently issued a common set of English language arts and mathematics standards that states can adopt.

Through these Common Core State Standards, students, teachers, parents, colleges and employers throughout Georgia, and indeed much of the United States, will have a first-class guide to what our children must know and be able to do to succeed in college, the 21st-century workplace and as contributing citizens in our democracy.

Will implementing the Common Core State Standards in Georgia reverse or shut down the implementation of our Georgia Performance Standards? Is this is a federal mandate to “take over” education? The answer to these questions is a resounding “no.”

The Common Core State Standards is a state-led initiative — not a federal mandate. Georgia teachers and other experts in standards setting have been at the table since the process began.

When the expert development groups — that the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association pulled together — began to write the standards in mathematics and English language arts, they built off of the rigorous college- and career-ready standards that some states had already developed.
Georgia was one of these select states.

When reading the new core standards, one can see elements of the Georgia Performance Standards throughout. Therefore, while adopting the Common Core State Standards in Georgia will be a step forward – and give our teachers more refined tools to better prepare our young people for work and college – it will not be a drastic change for either our teachers or our students.

Some of the standards are introduced at different grade levels, but teachers have, essentially, been implementing the Common Core State Standards while they’ve been teaching the Georgia Performance Standards.

Without question, there has been much conversation about the integrated approach of our Georgia Performance Standards for mathematics. While all of us want our students to succeed, unfortunately, for too long, Georgia has lagged behind the nation and other countries in mathematics achievement.

An integrated approach to math is one way that states can help students master the skills and knowledge outlined within the Common Core State Standards.We look forward to continuing a conversation with parents, teachers and the community on how to help our students excel.

Once our mathematics curriculum is fully implemented, I have every confidence that our students will be the winners.Our state’s mathematics  standards, supported by the Common Core State Standards, will help Georgia’s students rise above the rest. In the simplest terms, standards set the goal for what students should know and be able to do by the time they complete a grade level and then ultimately graduate high school. Curriculum, on the other hand, guides how a teacher teaches the standards.

Since 2004, we have been overhauling our state’s curriculum.

The new curriculum is the product of a lot of hard work by classroom teachers, parents, businesses and curriculum experts. Our award-winning curriculum is nearing full implementation with great results.So, if our curriculum is already good, why join this initiative?

While our standards give our teachers an excellent tool to prepare our young people, we are always looking for opportunities to improve. The Common Core State Standards integrate much of the Georgia Performance Standards, but benefit from the best and latest research allowing them to advance the groundwork we have laid.

The Common Core State Standards will allow for a meaningful comparison of our students’ achievement with students in other states. Currently, states operate with different standards, making it impossible to accurately compare data nationally or internationally.

Our students will be competing for jobs with students from all over the world. We must be able to compare ourselves to the rest of the U.S. and other countries to ensure that we are providing students with the tools they need to be globally competitive.And the initiative will allow for better purchasing power.

Since 48 participating states will have a consistent educational framework, textbook and instructional resource companies will be able to develop and target resources to one set of standards. This will help to reduce prices and ensure that funds are spent wisely. In these difficult economic times and beyond, it is essential that we maximize resources and invest wisely.

I am proud of the work done by teachers, parents, administrators and others to improve education in Georgia over the last few years, and we are excited to share and leverage our efforts with other states. By collaborating on the Common Core State Standards, working together we can take the next step to move Georgia’s schools from great to world-class.

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Just a teacher

June 26th, 2010
3:55 am

When I started teaching some 30 years ago, I knew it was my calling. Based on my education and experience, I thought I had something to offer. Now, I am treated like a leper…I somehow stopped knowing what I was doing over the past 10 years. Test, test, test. Yes, it is absolute madness. I’ve seen too, too many children stop reading once they get to public schools as the emphasis turns to preparation for standardized testing.

3 of my young relatives got classified as slow because they lived to savor and read their books in 2nd-4th grades. Their teachers had to unlearn them so that they could be put on timers as they prepared for their high stakes CRCT testing. Two refuse to read on their own now and one only if she can read Highlights not chapter books. Their parents are middle class Black working people who go to P.T.A’s. They shelled out thousands over the summers for programs to get their children to read again.
I am crying as I write this. These parents will save their children. How many parents cannot and will not? This whole thing is ludicrous. The unsaved children get to Middle School and High School passed on because of pressure to not let them fail. This is hopeless. These kids are miserable, having babies, and joining the blame wagon for why they can’t pass increasingly more rigorous standardized tests. They were never allowed to just develop a love of learning. Pre-k through 2nd grade should be fun for children. I do not know if these testing idiots and Mr. Gates with his electronic empire understand our kids. They are taking the joy out of just plain learning to read. Those students attended Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools. One has moved to avoid a terrible Middle School experiment. Two others got out of Dekalb County Schools and sacrificed and sent their children to private school. The Black parents are both doctors. Still others are trying charters. They have seen first hand how teachers worried about test scores and their jobs are destroying our children. Stop the insanity!

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 26th, 2010
6:56 am

That was a full page of words that don’t say anything. When jargon is used to obfuscate, the purpose is to hide what the person is actually doing. In this case, I would suspect the usual: spending money on “studies,” travel and “meetings,” all to show her “stakeholders” that she’s doing something (or doing anything).
If you want the results other states are getting, then do what other states are doing. I do not believe “integrated math” is one of those things.

schooled

June 26th, 2010
7:29 am

To find out if our integrated math is really working allow us access to national test data. How are Georgia students performing compared to students in states w/o an integrated math curriculum?

disilusioned

June 26th, 2010
7:36 am

In cultures where teachers are respected, the students are achieving at higher levels. I have taught internationally and personally have seen the difference not just in the pay for teachers but the treatment as professionals in society.

How can Georgia hope to be world-class while proving to the teachers (encouraging furloughs), students (taking the cap off class size) and parents (allowing the school year to be shortened)that education is not a priority?

Common Core Standards will not change the lack of attention and funding the Governor’s office has provide for the past eight years.

disilusioned

June 26th, 2010
7:37 am

provided for the past eight years(oops)

john konop

June 26th, 2010
8:00 am

God help us with have fools in charge! This board needs to be replaced ASAP! The number one reason a business fails is when the people running it lie to themselves about issues.

Freedom Education

June 26th, 2010
8:02 am

First of all, we live in a republic (individual rights and freedoms) not a democracy (collective good).

” The Common Core State Standards will allow for a meaningful comparison of our students’ achievement with students in other states.” I do not wish my child to be compared to others, but she should be compared to the abilities she has acquired to the career she chooses. Where is my parental choice?

“Our students will be competing for jobs with students from all over the world. We must be able to compare ourselves to the rest of the U.S. and other countries to ensure that we are providing students with the tools they need to be globally competitive.” I do not wish my child to be a global citizen… I demand my child to be a sovereign American citizen who is judged as an individual, not the body politic.

john konop

June 26th, 2010
8:31 am

The problem with the people creating the standards is the lack of understanding basic economics.

First most jobs support the economy police, hairdressers, plumbers, mechanics……… They are not competing on a global standard the people just need skills for the job.

Second our University system is the best in the world for the high level research in the science,math…..

A logical person would let the standards be driven matching the students abilities not force them in a one size fit all system that does not match the Vo-Tech and or University system.

A rational person would let high level students in math,science….. track with great institution like MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tec….. not Kathy Cox failed math 123.

A rational person would let Vo-Tech students gain skills they need to become productive tax payer rather than force them into a 1 track system that gives them no skills for a job after high school and or forces them into being a drop out.

A rational person would realize that it is about matching the curriculum with a student’s aptitude not forcing the kids into 1 size fit all system.

WE MUST GET A NEW BOARD ASAP!

Teacher&mom

June 26th, 2010
8:41 am

Mrs. Barrs is naive if she thinks the federal government is not seeking to take control of education. When she talks about comparing data, she is talking about increasing the amount of standardized testing in schools. Read this article if you don’t believe this is the goal of the current administration:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/06/what_i_did_in_june.html

I have a few questions for Mrs. Barr:

“The Common Core State Standards is a state-led initiative — not a federal mandate. Georgia teachers and other experts in standards setting have been at the table since the process began.”
1: Who are these “teachers” and “experts” that were sitting at the table?
2: Did you invite teachers and experts that represent varied schools of thought OR did you only invite those who agreed with your agenda?

“Since 48 participating states will have a consistent educational framework, textbook and instructional resource companies will be able to develop and target resources to one set of standards.”
3: Do you really think this will reduce textbook costs? Do you think textbook companies are going to charge less for a book? No, they’ll just bundle each textbook with more test prep materials to justify the cost increase.

4: Which education “experts” do you follow (read extensively)? Marzono, Wiggins, Stiggins, etc.

no real public input

June 26th, 2010
8:45 am

everything Mr. Konop said and just a bit more;

“And the initiative will allow for better purchasing power.”

the board and K. Cox didnt think about this before Math 123. GA is the only state (other states have already tried this math and dumped it over 10 years ago) that has Math 123. No states are going to copy GA we are at the bottom. I know you are just trying to save face about this failed math but just admit its not working. Sorry, one size does not fit all; align our math curriculm with other states so students can transfer in and out easier. Align us with other states in multiple graduation tracks.

and a question direcly to Wanda Barr

Why is it the persons running for state super except for one want to do away with Math 123?

Public School Parent

June 26th, 2010
8:53 am

As a parent, I do not have significant concerns about having common “standards” that define a minimum set of academic goals that should be achieved by the time a child reaches certain milestones, say end of 8th grade or 12th grade. I do have an enormous objection to using common standards as a vehicle to impose teaching pedagogy or worst, scripted teaching programs.

Every math teacher I have talked to (and they teach in Dekalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Bibb and Habersham) has complained that the state GPS math standards are much more than simply standards. They do not object to an overall set of standards but they vehemently object to the “discovery” teaching methodology that the state has mandated along with the math standards. They say the state GPS standards and its accompanying standardized testing are stifling creativity and driving the good students and teachers into private schools.

So if a set of national standards is a precursor to a national scripted teaching program, then I guess I will sell the house and put my children in private school where they are allowed to thrive and flourish.

Teacher&mom

June 26th, 2010
8:56 am

Truth…Our high school math teachers were told by several textbook reps that they were “holding off on developing a Math 1234 textbook series because they didn’t want to invest the $$ in a project that may not work out.” Instead, they created textbooks for GA using bits and pieces of other textbooks and binding them together in single textbook. Even the textbook companies are expecting GA’s Math 1234 to fail.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
9:08 am

Wanda-

Why don’t you disclose that the $34.6 million the state was paid to push Math 1, 2, 3?

Don’t you think that created a conflict of interest between what was best for state agencies and what was in fact best for Georgia’s schoolchildren?

Anyone else notice how these talking points read just like what the PTA’s distributed to the local schools after the Gates PTA grant?

Who is the actual ventriloquist who keeps developing these common talking points to be spouted on demand?

Does Wanda’s term expire when Sonny leaves office?

I remember hearing Wanda Barr speak at a luncheon singing the praises of Kathy Cox even though Kathy was making contradictory statements in her presentation of where she was taking Georgia schoolchildren.

The real tragedy of education in Georgia is this long tradition of public officials who simply regurgitate paid for statements without independent analysis or actual knowledge of the facts.

It’s a good thing Ms Barr isn’t submitting this letter for a grade. I’d mark it “F” for inaccurate and ask for her cites.

phil

June 26th, 2010
9:19 am

How many of you whiners are registered to vote? How many of you whiners will actually vote? How many of you whiners will vote for the incumbents? We shall see in November how many of you whiners made a difference.

Please

June 26th, 2010
9:20 am

This coming from a hack who has shown a complete unwillingness to get to the bottom of the largest cheating scandal in Georgia’s educational history and hold accountable those at the very top for knowingly allowing it to happen, and then trying everything in their power to cover it up.

Zero integrity. Zero.

john konop

June 26th, 2010
9:47 am

The strategy of Kathy Cox and the state school board is always the same. Avoid the issues and attack people on a personal level. If you would focus on your job instead of protecting lobbyist for cash, we would not be in this mess. As I warned before in the past Kathy Cox would cash out after destroying our schools for cash and become a high paid lobbyist.

Was it really worth it?

Why it doesn't matter

June 26th, 2010
9:48 am

It doesn’t matter what the standards are, if we aren’t willing to support the authority of Georgia’s teachers to enforce the discipline standards necessary to maintain the integrity of the classroom learning environment.

But if 400,000 plus readers can’t even hold a blog accountable for doing even ONE blog topic on how school systems by and large have created an environment of second guessing teachers, and not supporting them on matters of discipline, I guess 400,000 plus readers are more than happy with the status quo in Georgia. Because if you’re not willing to make the newspaper shine light on THAT issue, pretty much everything else is a discussion on how best to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Why it doesn't matter

June 26th, 2010
10:07 am

The person who said follow the money was right. The same people trying to force this on the public are the same people who try to force any discussion on how we have let behavior deteriorate in the public schools underground.

This is actually worse than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This is asking passengers to pay massive amounts of money to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, while those who do so have already reserved the life boats.

But if the readers won’t do their job, and demand a full accounting of the icebergs sinking the classroom…

Just A Teacher

June 26th, 2010
10:34 am

“How many of you whiners are registered to vote? How many of you whiners will actually vote? How many of you whiners will vote for the incumbents? We shall see in November how many of you whiners made a difference.”

The state school board is appointed by the governor’s office, not elected by the people.

d

June 26th, 2010
10:47 am

Just a teacher — that’s why a friend of mine pointed out (and I truly agree) that the state school superintendent is not the race that we need to be concerned with. We need a pro-public education governor who will give us a board of education that will make a difference.

Just Another Teacher

June 26th, 2010
11:20 am

At least there is a conversation going on. People are examining this whole emphasis on testing. Our kids deserve better. They are not robots and they are not not all square pegs that should be put in a square hole. We need more flexibilty with our curriculum and we need to stop testing so early. Let the kids develop a love of learning in the primary grades. Don’t subject them to the horrors of testing until 4th grade and then only Math, Reading, Science and Civics. Then give them a chance to repeat the test in the 5th grade. Trust your teachers and the education programs of your colleges. We’re going to lose the brightest and end up with a cadre of “Teach for America Types” who may burn out in 5 years because the rest of us dedicated troopers will have retired. They won’t be able to dump all of the children who learn at a slower pace on us and tell us we don’t know what we’re doing because our scores are not high enough.

Not all children are the same. Some take a little longer to learn. And if some kids are ready for the 4th grade test in 3rd grade, give it to them. Then challenge them with other things. Don’t let their whole elementary experience center around standards and testing. Let them enjoy learning and let their teachers enjoy teaching again.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

An interesting aspect to this story would be to determine how much money the Barrs have taken in annually since 1994 using the farm as a hands-on science learning lab.

Here’s just one of the stories on their farm http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2006_Nov_27/ai_n16869332/

I believe we can surmise that they are not hosting 700 to 900 students per year for free.

It may be a worthwhile educational experience but Ms Barrs certainly has a financial interest in pushing the discovery science approach pushed by NSF through its MSPs like PRISM.

1994 is when the original NSF statewide math and science initiative, GIMS, to push discovery math and science was being set up after a $10 million payment to the state.

Wow. Nothing like completely disinterested assertions by a public official on whether a curriculum is beneficial for Georgia students.

Why it doesn't matter

June 26th, 2010
12:26 pm

Hey everybody let’s have some spirited debates on what we want teachers to teach, then ignore the fact we don’t give teachers the authority to maintain the integrity of the learning environment.

Let’s spend millions on new curriculum; better yet, let’s spend billions. We see just how well this has worked in the past.

Say it all together

We were 48th!
Now we’re 46th!

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
12:32 pm

Stuck in the filter on a ho muggy day.

HStchr

June 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

Just Another Teacher: The data we currently have is showing that we’re flatlining with kids at the top. We’ve made gains at the lower end, but we’re totally denying accelerated learners with challenge and the opportunity to move ahead. I know kids who read on college level who could easily pass the GHSGT in ninth grade. But they are forced to take endless classes because we can’t face the fact that our system really doesn’t challenge them enough. How will these standards help that situation? I haven’t read a thing that convinces me they will.

I work with at-risk kids all day, and I can tell you that the slickest, best-designed “twenty-first century” standards are meaningless to kids who are often years below grade level in reading. They hate to read, loathe the forced testing that only confirms their self-image as worthless, and often give up on learning. My greatest challenge is to get them over the notion that they can’t do it and can’t learn. They are often very talented kids who just need teachers sensitive to their needs who are willing to work a little harder to reach them. Kids at both ends of the learning spectrum just aren’t getting what they need when we focus ever more on pass/fail on a standardized test. How will these new standards help with that problem?

catlady

June 26th, 2010
1:33 pm

I agree: Total Talking Points.

All sound; no substance.

See how annoying it is to read one sentence paragraphs?

Let’s have some complex sentences and paragraphs with topic development.

Let’s try to back up what we assert.

Otherwise intelligent people will go nuts.

parent

June 26th, 2010
1:35 pm

The author states that we have an “award winning curriculum.” What awards has it won? Has it been proven to improve learning and press all levels of students forward, gifted, center, and lowere levels? and really, what awards has it won????

parent

June 26th, 2010
1:35 pm

Sorry, lower (not lowere)…I

The ever pathetic AJC

June 26th, 2010
3:14 pm

I can’t wait to buy the Sunday paper, now that today’s paper teases us with a self-assessment of Kathy Cox’s watch by saying “good things happened on her watch”.

What good things? A nuclear holocaust didn’t happen on her watch?

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
3:34 pm

Indeed, the biggest problem in our schools is poverty, and the troubled family situations that stem from it.

The only thing that can even hope to stem this tide is improving the level of education that we provide to all students.

Yet, teachers and others on this blog continually want to put the cart before the horse. No wonder we are in such a sad state.

td

June 26th, 2010
4:03 pm

Ok, Below is what Dr John Barge wrote on this subject back in March. It was a blog entry on his website: I think he is right on with hiw assessment.

“March 20, 2010
I listened with such frustration yesterday to two different webinars hosted by the Georgia Department of Education concerning the rollout/implementation of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The rhetoric flowing out of the DOE on this issue is incredible. I do not fault the presenters themselves. They are following directions. If you listen to both presentations, one describes the mathematics CCSS while the other details English/language arts. The presenters are quick to point out that these standards were designed by and agreed upon by the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers among other groups, and that 48 states and 2 territories have adopted them.

They also point out each time that Texas and Alaska are the two states that have not adopted them. I guess they are trying to shame the Governors of these two states into adopting so they can have the whole country! Anyone have land for sale in Texas or Alaska? Actually, the presenters address a question posted by one of the listeners about “adoption” and Kentucky is the only state to have officially “adopted.” Of course they fail to even acknowledge the direct questions like, if we don’t adopt these standards, will we still get the Race To The Top grant? Why weren’t we included in the development of these? And, can we get a copy of the names of teachers included in the writing of these CCSS?

It really concerns me what the real agenda may be behind these CCSS.

•These standards have been being developed for over a year in total secrecy

•They were introduced to the public on March 10, 2010.

•The public has until April 2, 2010 to comment on them.

Okay, so “they” spend over a year developing these documents and guidelines that are over a hundred pages in length that are so filled with educational jargon that most of the general public won’t understand a thing they say, and they expect our feedback in two weeks? Where is the equity in that? What is the URGENT rush? Why are these bring rammed down our throats?

One answer: Race To The Top. If the state doesn’t adopt these standards, we won’t receive the Race To The Top grant. The federal government wants control over our educational system and this is the avenue. The presenters in these webinars explain that common national assessments will come 3 to 4 years down the road. When the government controls the assessments, they will control the curriculum. Why? Because another key piece of Race To The Top is teacher merit pay. In order to receive Race To The Top monies the state must also adopt a merit pay system for teachers that bases teacher pay on how well their students do on these assessments.

When the merit pay piece is added in, the teachers will teach exactly what is in the CCSS and nothing else because that is what the national assessments will cover and the amount of their pay will be based on how well their students perform on the assessments.

In these horrific economic conditions, thousands of teacher layoffs, multiple school systems around the state already borrowing money to make payroll, educational programs being cut, WHY are we choosing now to do this? Consider this:

•The state legislature is still toying with the idea of cutting the number school days for students next year AND the number of teacher planning days. When we will have time to train?

•The systems have no professional learning money to pay for teacher training. It has been cut.

•We haven’t even finished rolling out the new Georgia Performance Standards and we are already changing them?

•Curriculum maps, frameworks, unit plans, and assessments that systems have been developing for the past several years will have to be redone to align to the new CCSS. We have no money or professional learning days left for that.

•At a time when teachers are facing furloughs, pay cuts, layoffs, and attacks on their integrity, I am afraid we’re going to discourage potential new teachers from entering the profession while simultaneously encouraging others to leave.

The presenters reiterate over and over how similar the new CCSS are to our Georgia Performance Standards and the fact that Georgia’s standards were used to write the CCSS. If that’s the case, why do we need to adopt standards we already have and subject the educators in our state to another layer of federal oversight and control to adopt a curriculum we already have?

I submit to you that it is not at all really about this phenomenal new curriculum that is the silver bullet fix for educating our children. It is about the current federal administration wanting to control the education of your children, including what goes into the textbooks. Kudos go out to Texas and Alaska for resisting this movement. I end as I began, anyone have land for sale in Texas or Alaska?”

td

June 26th, 2010
4:09 pm

My last post was caught in that horrible filter when I attempted to post a blog written on this exact subject by Dr. John Barge. You can go to the below URL and read it directly. He addresses a great deal of the concerns posted on this blog.

http://johnbarge.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/common-core-state-standards-why-the-rush/

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
4:13 pm

DA=

If the biggest problem facing the schools is poverty and not poor instructional techniques and weak curricula and a lack of discipline, how do you explain the fantastic results studies are showing out of the KIPP schools?

Also if you want to improve the level of education for ALL students, are you comfortable with one track for all?

Dealing with the elephant

June 26th, 2010
4:17 pm

“The only thing that can even hope to stem this tide is improving the level of education that we provide to all students.”

And the single best way to improve the level of education is to give teachers the authority to maintain the integrity of the classroom learning environment.

Be we’d rather blather on, and spend billions on, “reform” than deal with the multi-billion pound elephant in the school house.

Yes we’ve spent BILLIONS trying to “improve the level of education”. Maybe that’s the real reason we don’t want to try the simple approach of dealing with discipline. No money to be made for the educrats.

Dealing with the elephant

June 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

Ever notice that when children, even from the most poverty stricken of backgrounds, are put in situations where teachers are given the authority to hold students accountable for behavior and academics, and are not constantly second guessed for doing so, the children almost invariably responded positively to the accountability?

But then we have people who insist on putting the cart before the horse with talk of “standards,” “revised curricula,” “researched based best practices,” or the old mulit-billion dollar standby, “reform”.

@Teacher&mom

June 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

TEXT books for math1234:
I will be teaching the math III next year and the assigned text will be what we have been using for the advanced algebra & Trig and analysis (pre cal honors) in previous years. For math II I used our old algebra II books for that course. Glencoe’s Core Plus Mathematics 1-4 texts are a complete failure and do not cover the new standards in depth. I think Carnigie is the closest. Georgia paid $5 million on Carnigie which I feel covers all the topics well and has wonderful online resources. They (Carnigie) provides us (teachers/students) with soft cover text books where the student simply cannot bring home (they would be ruined). I wish Carnigie would make a hard cover text that the student can take home.

INTEGRATED MATH: math II covers quadratics, circles, simple trigonometry, exponentials, statistics, and a few more. (accelerated classes have covered some of those and have more topics). I find the level in which we teach these topics are exactly the same when we taught alg I, II and geometry. The sequence I find very odd. I feel these “new ” standards are the same as what we have taugh in the past with the exception of statistics because I know most math teachers will not get to that in Algebra and precalc unless it is a stats class. Now all students need to find the standard deviation of a set of a data (which most calculators will do). Stan. Dev. is a menial process that I find pointless and cost the kids lots of time on the math II EOCT. I wish we had more time to practice the “art” of problem solving instead of jumping from one random topic to another. If we are trying to be the role model for the nation for a national core standard initiative, we need to stop fooling ourselves and the nation. Sonny is a political tool who will promote this and I can not believe Cox is moving up to a “think tank” in D.C. I know in a society with so many different ideas and opinions , people pulling in so many different directions it is difficult to find common ground but we can all come to some consensus on some common sense.

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
4:37 pm

Agreed AP! Because KIPP has put the horse in front of the cart! Exactly!

Bloggers here (not you, but others) continually say we have to fix poverty and bad parenting before we can fix schools. I say the opposite, that we must fix schools before we can hope to fix poverty and the resulting bad parenting.

And no, I hate the one-track thing…worst idea I’ve seen in education in this state since I moved here.

@td

June 26th, 2010
4:53 pm

td, thanks for the link. That was an interesting read.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
5:12 pm

Here’s a link to the new Mathematica study on the KIPP schools’ effect

http://www.kipp.org/mathematica

Also a good report on this in EdWeek and in the Houston Chronicle.

The techniques being pushed by those in charge of Common Core and its assessments have little in common with what has been shown to work with KIPP.

The one track aspect is what worries me about America’s Choice’s huge involvement with the Common Core standards.

The idea of national standards may seem good but the previous statements and practices of those in charge here indicates that the actual implementation will be to push unproven or demonstrably bad ideas and disallow practices known to work.

DA- The Justice Dept and the Ed Dept are currently arguing that one track is the only way for a district to avoid civil rights complaints if there is disproportionality in the academic groups. They have announced this new controversial approach. Funny how it was the same week that the Common Core standards came out.

Do you believe in such coincidences? Me neither.

Actual academic interests or needs are to be ignored in this utopian world.

Teacher&mom

June 26th, 2010
5:14 pm

DA, I work in a Title I school. I’m also very successful with students from poverty. They can and do learn. Most days I thoroughly enjoy working with this group. I’m also fortunate to work in a school that supports my efforts to hold students accountable for their behavior. They allow me to teach. They don’t second guess my strategies. They don’t hand me a script and expect me to follow it word-for-word. I’ve not always had this support and I agree with Dealing with the elephant…. this level of support is THE KEY to a successful school.

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
5:23 pm

Agreed T&M, and I think what you experience is the overwhelming norm in our schools. Good teachers get to do their thing and they are successful. Poverty can, must and is being overcome, but it is an arduaous process that many on this blog just want to skip past.

Elephant (the moniker of the day), wants to overstate the situation and put the entire onus on administration without looking at other contributing factors.

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
5:34 pm

can somebody translate that into english?

Overstating the obvious

June 26th, 2010
6:13 pm

40,000 discipline reports suddenly disappear in Gwinnett. Hundreds of thousands disappear all over Georgia. And we are “overstating” the problem?

Overstating the obvious

June 26th, 2010
6:16 pm

Ask Janice Fair if the problem is “overstated”. Or was she assaulted because she “couldn’t relate to the kids”?

Dealing with the elephant

June 26th, 2010
6:19 pm

Agreed AP! Because KIPP has put the horse in front of the cart! Exactly!

Exactly. KIPP DOES put the horse in front of the cart. KIPP supports their teachers in DISCIPLINE.

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
6:37 pm

KIPP also does not hire bad teachers, holds them to amazingly high standards, and expects constant professional development. KIPP recognizes that discipline is a part of the equation, not the whole darn pie.

Another Teacher Leaving

June 26th, 2010
6:38 pm

Here’s the problem: no one gets passionate about preparing students for standardized tests. The evidence is everywhere on these posts, where the teachers you would want teaching your kids, I mean the ones who are dedicated to instilling a love of learning in young people, are leaving in droves. As an educator, it pains me to see how much school is just a boring, factory place for kids now, where teachers are expected to teach them how to fill in bubbles on answer documents. Good teachers are justifiably contemptuous of such requirements, yet that is what our profession has been reduced to. I so much hate that schooling is so dull and trivial here.

And Purdue and those of his ilk can only offer more regimentation and standardization.

The thing is, good teachers do not have to take this. We’re voting with our feet, people, and your kids are the poorer for it.

Only six weeks to Dubai.

Dealing with the elephant

June 26th, 2010
6:49 pm

No one is saying supporting teachers in matter of discipline is the whole darn pie. It’s just the crust. But the problem with education is that we keep thinking if we make the toppings fancier, and charge more money for them, the crust is magically going to take care of itself.

You can make a pie with all kinds of toppings. You can make a pie even without spending billions on “pie experts”. But you can’t make a pie without a crust.

Nothing We Can Do

June 26th, 2010
7:26 pm

I see our “Barge” fan club is back. We know you work for his campaign, give it a rest.