Tagged “Common Core”

Walter McKenzie

Education’s Greatest Common Factor

Are you tired yet of working to the lowest common denominator? Think about it. Every problem under discussion in public education boils down to it. Funding. Staffing. Standards. What's the least, the minimum we can expect everyone to accept?

To make it sound reasonable, we reference "milestones" and "benchmarks" to suggest that anyone can go beyond these minimum expectations, but the reality is the lowest common denominator becomes the de facto goal. Bars are lowered. Expectations settle. Learning is minimized, meted out, and measured. But what if we changed the formula so that minimum measures of learning become the variable and student learning becomes the constant for success?

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Thom Markham

Connecting the Dots to Whole Child Education

Yesterday's date: April 1, 2013.

Yesterday's lead education article: How should we handle homework?

Yesterday's lead statistic: ADHD diagnosed in 11 percent of U.S. children.

Today's question: Can we connect the dots?

No, this was not an April Fool's question. It's a simple scattergram, a graph of disparate facts and headlines arranged into no particular pattern—until you begin to probe and ponder.

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Melissa Mellor

Quantifying Teacher Effectiveness

ASCD Policy Priorities - Spring 2013

Can you quantify the effectiveness of a good teacher? How much of that can be determined from student test scores? And how can teachers of untested subjects like the arts, physical education, and social studies be fairly evaluated? These are some of the questions raised in the newest edition of Policy Priorities, ASCD's quarterly policy newsletter, which examines U.S. efforts to transform its teacher evaluation systems.

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Celina Brennan

Aspects of Whole Child Classrooms

We are in an intense time of change within education, from the Common Core State Standards Initiative to the rapid advancement of technology to new teacher and principal evaluation processes. Ordinarily, the changes we face in education are often just old practices with innovative twists. Today's challenging changes are different, requiring educators to dig deeply for a mind-set that will withstand and embrace the shifting paradigms of the educational landscape. After all, our students deserve educators who are well-informed and thoughtful about how their practices affect the whole child now and in the long run.

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Klea Scharberg

Opportunity to Learn, Teach, and Lead

What does it mean to be a teacher, a learner, and a leader in today's schools and classrooms? What do we need to be effective? How will the current standards movement affect us, as professionals, and our students? How do we find out the answers to these questions?

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Elizabeth Pfiffner

Common Core Standards Will Benefit At-Risk Students

As part of the school team, school social workers share the goal of ensuring that all students receive a high-quality education. We work with students and their families to address personal, family, and societal issues that create obstacles for learning. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards will create a strong foundation for school social workers in our mission to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.

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Molly McCloskey

Best Questions: Someday Happens, Part Two

Four years ago on the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States, we titled our Whole Child Newsletter "Someday Happens," reflecting a T-shirt I saw at the ceremonies that day. Today, independent of political views, I'm wondering when someday will happen for the millions of kids promised a "free and appropriate public education." Although that phrase was first introduced in reference to children with disabilities, it applies too often to kids from all walks of life in all parts of the United States.

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Maria Hersey

What Is Missing in the Common Core Standards?

Life in the 21st century is evolving at a rapid and challenging pace, creating a renewed focus on the lack of fit between what education is and what it needs to be. In the United States, the most recent call for education reform is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which highlight the importance of curriculum alignment and integration, a respect for multiple perspectives, and the provision of a well-rounded education that prepares students for college and career readiness.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Great Expectations: Transforming Practice Through Common Core Implementation

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We as educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for us. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that they both support and enhance each other to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship success. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not have to be and should not be in opposition. In fact, they're interdependent. So much so, that they require each other to be successful.

Now is the time for us to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what we decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how we decide to do it. In this episode, host Molly McCloskey and our guests discuss how our schools are working to better and more comprehensively support student learning so that they meet these enhanced expectations. You'll hear from

  • Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids and, recently, director of public engagement and advocacy for the Public Education Network where he covered education reform, parental involvement, and community engagement issues on the Hill and agencies, specializing in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Fege has more than 40 years of public education and child advocacy experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and desegregation director. He was the National PTA's director of governmental relations for 17 years and is recognized for his leading work and articles in linking school and community. As a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions in the original ESEA legislation and has been involved in every reauthorization of ESEA since that time.
  • Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and guest author this month on the Whole Child Blog. Mertler has been an educator for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a high school science teacher, then pursuing degrees in education assessment, research, and statistics. His interests lie in teacher-led action research, teacher leadership, classroom assessment, data-driven instructional decision making, and school improvement.
  • David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD who leads the development and implementation of ASCD's Legislative Agenda as well as ASCD's efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels. He has 20 years of political experience as a congressional aide and on several political campaigns. Prior to joining ASCD, Griffith was the director of governmental and public affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he oversaw the organization's advocacy and political activities as well as media relations.

How are you and your professional colleagues critically examining your practice as we enter the era of Common Core implementation?

Andrew Miller

21st Century Skills and the Common Core Standards

Twenty-first century skills are quickly becoming taught and assessed in schools across the United States. Whether through explicit instruction or models like project-based learning, educators are realizing that lower-level content comprehension is not enough. The Whole Child Initiative calls for tenets that rely on these skills. Educators create a safe environment through collaboration. Critical thinking creates rigor and challenge. Communication can create engagement with the community. When we pair 21st century skills with content, we can create powerful and meaningful learning. The Common Core State Standards explicitly call for these skills, so through uncovering the 3 Cs in the Common Core standards, we can see how educators must teach and assess them.

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