National: Republican Divide Over Common Core

National: Republican Divide Over Common Core

Republican infighting over Common Core makes the Democratic division look small.  Looking back at Columbine, 15 years later.  Field trips -- just for teachers? Here's a roundup of national education news for everyone to check out. You can get more national education news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Republicans See Political Wedge in Common Core NYT: The Common Core, a set of national educational standards, is seen by some conservatives as federal overreach. But in contrast to the Affordable Care Act, it has Republican defenders.

Jindal, teachers agree over firing appeals process Gov. Jindal has agreed to adjust a 2012 state law surrounding teachers' job security and firings that he helped craft, after losing a legal battle with an educator facing dismissal earlier this year.

15 Years After Columbine, Are Schools Any Safer? NPR: The mass shooting at Columbine High School spurred schools to adopt "zero tolerance" policies. Do they work? NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez and former principal Bill Bond discuss.

A Scientific Experiment: Field Trips Just For Teachers NPR: Educators say the middle grades are a key time time to get kids jazzed about science, but many teachers say they lack the tools they need. In Chicago, a science museum is helping to fill the the gap.

Kansas: First Lady’s Visit Draws Criticism NYT: Some Topeka high school students and their parents said they would rather keep their graduation day just a family affair, and not include Michelle Obama.

National Service Advocates Say Washington Has Abandoned Its Bipartisan Promise To Them BuzzFeed: In 2009, national service advocates celebrated as President Obama and a large bipartisan coalition in Congress pledged to expand prized AmeriCorps slots from the current 80,000 to 250,000, fulfilling a promise to expand national service supported by Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Columbine Shooter's Mom Gave A Chilling Account Of Discovering Her Son's Massacre 15 Years Ago Today Business Insider: Dylan Klebold's parents, Thomas and Susan, recently entered the spotlight again as two of several subjects in Andrew Solomon's book about parenting abnormal children. In the NYT,

Acceptance rates at elite U.S. colleges decline LA Times:  Throughout the arduous college application process, Brown University was on the top of Madeline Anderson's wish list. So when the Long Beach high school senior received a rejection from the Ivy League campus, she was disappointed but also knew she had tons of company.

Michigan students march to end ‘zero tolerance’ approach to school discipline PBS:  About 150 Michigan students, parents and educators plan to take the 90-mile trip from Detroit to the state’s capital in Lansing Monday through Wednesday to protest schools’ zero-tolerance discipline policies. That may not seem like much of an undertaking – but they’re making the trek on foot.

Lessons from a successful ‘dropout recruiter’ PBS NewsHour: Dropping out can translate into reduced hope of earning a diploma, but thanks to a graduation proponent known as the “Dropout Recruiter,” both young men succeeded in obtaining their high school degrees. “They call me the tracker,” said Charlie Bean of St. Louis Public Schools. “I track kids down and get them back in school.”

Santa Monica High Scool teacher reinstated after fight with student caught on video LA Daily News: A Santa Monica High School science teacher who was placed on leave after being caught on video fighting with a student he had confronted about drugs in class will be back at work Monday, the Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District announced today.

De Blasio dismisses implications of retroactive pay deal ChalkbeatNY: Mayor de Blasio said that the city's contract deal with the MTA, which includes retroactive pay, won't affect other negotiations.

Teachers Sound Off on State English Tests WNYC: Following the recent controversy around the state's English tests for grades 3-8, we invited four educators to WNYC's studios over spring break to hear why they're so critical of the tests. Three of the four work at schools that were involved in a protest rally earlier this month, organized by nearly 40 Manhattan principals.

Brand names in NY standardized tests vex parents Seattle Times: "Just Do It" has been a familiar Nike slogan for years, but some parents are wondering what it was doing on some of New York's Common Core standardized English tests.

The Common Core makes simple math more complicated. Here's why. Vox: It's reasonable that parents will be confused by the new way of doing things, says Meyer, the former math teacher and Ph.D. student. But he says that parents' education wasn't particularly effective, even if they're confident in their arithmetic. When tested on their math skills, American adults ranked third-to-last compared to other developed countries.


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  • fb_avatar

    The position of American mathematics looks even worse than that the Vox article presents if you read page 85 of the PIAAC report, which shows that Americans aged 16-24 -- that is, the students now nearing completion of their education -- are dead last in the world in their abilities to apply mathematics, behind even Italy and Spain, whose peers our elders could surpass but whose youth America's has fallen behind. And yet the groups associated with leading America's youth to this current position, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, were the ones who decided to keep the pacing of mathematics instruction largely unchanged, so that most American children will remain three years behind the Chinese and two years behind the rest of east Asia when their free public educations come to an end and they have to either start to pay for remediation or give up on any jobs that require a competitive mathematics education.

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    And yet no one bothered to cross reference that study against poverty rate. The U.S.A. is 34th worst out of 157 nations. According to the C.I.A. we are among the worst 25% in the world with a 15% poverty rate! Think that might be pulling scores down?

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    There is no universally accepted definition of poverty; different countries have different standards for defining it, so any such ranking by the C.I.A. appears pointless. By our standards, virtually the entire population of Shanghai or of Korea, where I lived for seven years, would be in poverty. The poverty explanation for low mathematics scores is tempting within the U.S. context, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny once international comparative data are considered.

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    The U.S.A. is at the bottom of relative poverty rates according to UNICEF, and also at the bottom of your math score table. And that, according to you, is just a coincidence.

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    In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    How do you explain America's ranking significantly higher in literacy than in numeracy, since poverty for our young is constant in both cases? And did you note that the UNICEF report you cite skips the Third World altogether, even though pupils in several of those countries are also outscoring America's in mathematics? How do you explain the fact that the children of Shanghai's poorest factory labourers outperform the children of America's doctors and other professionals? Poverty is plausibly a factor correlated with low achievement; it is by no means the single cause.

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    In reply to Bruce Smith:

    Please show cite where "the children of Shanghai's poorest factory labourers outperform the children of America's doctors and other professionals."

    In Shanghai those poor kids are not tested, which is why their scores appear higher.

    And I never said poverty was the only cause of low achievement. It is, however, the single greatest cause.

  • Poor kids are tough to teach, so let's take a mulligan.

    Why teach when we can hide behind flimsy statistics?

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    Right. Let's just act like childhood poverty makes no difference at all. Kids in Lake Forest score better than kids in poor Chicago neighborhoods because the Chicago teachers are "taking a mulligan" (whatever that is supposed to mean.)

    In the meantime, read Educational Testing Service's report on poverty and education

  • Wait... I thought kids on the North Shore performed better than CPS students because their teachers get paid more money. Isn't that how CTU justified a raise - getting better income means getting better teachers into CPS? Or was it just greed?

    I agree with Bruce: poverty matters, but it does not mean that we should accept poor performance in poor neighborhoods.

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    Please show any quote from CTU where anyone said anything like that, Tyler. In the meantime, keep changing the subject whenever you get pinned down.

    BTW, can you show even one study that indicates poverty does not matter in education?

    BTW, can you show one quote from a teacher who says we "should accept poor performance in poor neighborhoods?"

    And, really, "Bruce?!"
    What's Rauner your buddy now?

  • Requested citation:

    Ed, the fact that you are willing to hide behind poverty as an excuse for students not learning is the same as accepting poor kids' poor scores. Yes, low incomes create conditions that are tough for learning. My kids know this first hand. That does not mean that we should accept lower income kids not doing as well as rich kids.

    Hiding behind statistics from UN or whatever doesn't help anything besides your bruised ego.

    When a kid fails to learn, it is on the teacher. If you don't believe that this is the case, then what exactly does a teacher do in your world? Join a union and bully the city for millions in pay that it can't afford? Troll blogs while collecting a paycheck?

    Imagine if CTU spent half the time it does fighting the mayor working on their lessons... CPS might not be as bad off. Instead, we are stuck with "Ed".

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    LOL, you are a real joker Tyler. So first, that Sun-Times article does not have a single quote in it from a teacher or union leader that says the North Shore performs better BECAUSE teachers get paid more. But it does say that many, many suburban district teachers get paid more than Chicago teachers. Was that your point?

    Second, again, when you get pinned down you resort to insults and running away. I comment on my free time, not on school time. But I guess you want to shut me up since I puncture your dearly held (though wrong) beliefs.

    Third, where is the quote from any teacher, anywhere who says we should "accept poor performance in poor neighborhoods." Maybe a dream you had, or something your bff "Bruce" made up?

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    And Tyler, maybe if you actually read something besides "Bruce's" press releases you might know something about how poverty affects student performance. So, I know it is hard, but try to at least read the first few paragraphs of this. K'?

  • Perhaps you should reread the article and your comments above, "Ed".

    You care more about your pension and paycheck than how much poor students learn. You hide behind statistics when cornered. You are the problem, not the solution.

  • This Is my opinion:

    Have you ever thought that there is nothing wrong with American kids.
    The problem is American math teachers?

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    I don't "hide behind statistics." I provide substantial support for my opinions rather than making inflammatory, insulting comments based on half-baked, unsupported prejudices and stereotypes like "tyler."

    So for the third time "tyler" please provide a cite to support your theory that poverty should not be considered when evaluating student achievement. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth when you quote your buddy "Bruce." Poverty matters, but not really. Kids from gang and drug riddled poverty backgrounds can do just as well as rich kids, but you can't provide a single piece of support for that opinion. Read a book instead of Rauner's press releases.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    "Kids from gang and drug riddled poverty backgrounds can do just as well as rich kids, but you can't provide a single piece of support for that opinion." It's not an opinion. It's fact; unless you want to say that parents' income creates academic potential.

    The fact that you want to debate this point at all suggests that you judge rich kids' potential to be larger and more valuable than poor kids' potential. Why rise above challenges by actually doing work and teaching the kids with poor backgrounds when you can say "it's tougher to teach these kids"?

    You're stuck. Either you say they can't be taught or you say try can. If they can't, you prove my point that you hide behind stats, trends and excuses. If they can (but aren't), you admit that teachers in Chicago (you included) are failing. Either way you expose yourself as on the wrong side of the issue.

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    OK Tyler, one more time.
    1. STATISTICALLY rich kids do better than poor kids EVERYWHERE.
    Have a nice day and take your meds.

  • "STATISTICALLY rich kids do better than poor kids EVERYWHERE."

    Let me add this to your third point about teacher quotations: "POOR KIDS CAN NOT BE EDUCATED [as well as rich kids]."

    You literally just made my point. Why are you yelling?

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    Apparently Tyler, you have no idea what statistics are or how logic works.

    If I say statistically rich kids do better than poor kids, that does not mean that every, single rich kid does better than every single poor kid. Only a complete idiot would think that. And it does not mean that I think poor kids can not be educated. Only a complete idiot would even suggest that.

    But, apparently some school system has failed you very, very badly.

  • 1: News comes out that US schools are falling further behind.
    2: Ed blames poverty.
    3: I point out that poverty is an excuse used to justify unequal outcomes.
    4: Ed goes on nonsensical, hypocritical rant - including stereotyping working class children.
    5: I point out Ed's viewpoint that poor kids (on average) can't learn as well as rich kids.
    6: Ed screams in comment section, affirming the position that poor kids have less potential than rich kids -- because they are poor.
    7: I suggest that poor kids deserve better than teachers who prejudge their potential based on income.
    8: Ed believes that I had an education that failed me and need to take medication - an irony since he imposes an education that fails his students while yelling into the comments section of a blog.
    9: I summarize the discussion, concluding that Ed is a self-centered union disciple and would rather repeat excuses than teach poor kids.

    Prediction: Ed goes to work tomorrow, does an unremarkable job, responds with an attempt at sounding smart but looks petty while clocked in at work, and cashes a fat paycheck. In the end, we lose, because we pay his salary despite terrible performance.

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    And how do you know I am a "terrible teacher?" I am a National Board Certified Teacher, I have never received a rating lower than "superior" in my 17 years of teaching. My student evaluations are all outstanding.

    I only comment on my own time, Tyler. You are a hater, and you have no idea how statistics work or how to support your opinions with evidence. How anyone can stand to be around you I do not know. Goodbye.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    You seem to like making things up. I never said you were a terrible teacher. In the past, I've said that you maintain an idiotic political position, are passionate about union solidarity, and that it is tough to gauge your intelligence based on your arguments.

    I have criticized your actions, with only one personal attack:
    Based on your "let it be" mentality towards the parent's income and student outcome gap, I called you part of the problem - the problem that lets the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    For someone who so passionately buys into the solidarity message, one would expect an angry response about CPS failing to meet needs for the poor. Instead, I find an self-centered union ideologue who is more concerned about his own credentials and income today than this city's tomorrow. So much for solidarity and social justice.

    You are half right about calling me a "hater". I detest that children with potential are exposed to a teacher who expects them to perform worse than their wealthier peers - based on stats from the company who manufactures common core tests. I despise that the students who desperately need an education the most have their future disparaged by your bias. That said, I do not hate you. You're not worth my time.

    Based on previous conversations and your last comment, it appears that you have an insecurity about being a superior teacher. You may feel that you are inferior because you likely are not able to do you job well -- probably because of your bias against the poor. Maybe you should retire before they cut your pension? It would help you secure cash and help the poor kids in your class by removing a biased instructor. Win win.

  • Fight Club Tyler is being purposely obtuse Ed....your responses have always been Common Core like and evidence based...ignore the maroon...

  • 18 years with CPS on the South Side Tyler...I've dedicated my life to teaching and the underprivileged are my forte...having said that...I own a boat load of AAPL SLB XOM CSCO and a slew of others...I'm a career changer with six figures in his IRA...who needs a union? I teach cause I can basement dweller...

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    You have never called me a terrible teacher Tyler. Except two comments ago. "In the end, we lose, because we pay his salary despite terrible performance."

    Do you even remember what you say from comment to comment?

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Apparently reading comprehension is not a skill you possess.

    The Bulls have played terribly the last two games. Does that make them terrible players? No. Does my prediction that you will have a terrible performance mean that I called you a terrible teacher? No. It's the same thing.

    It is difficult to imagine one who is somewhat illiterate as an above average teacher. Based on your comments and bias, it is difficult to imagine you as an above average teacher.

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