South Carolina’s New standards are not so revolutionary…


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Here’s a link to an article in Education Week about the new Language Arts and Math standards drafted to replace CCSS in South Carolina. There is nothing new under the sun.

Student absences and achievement; there is a connection.



I found this article in the Daily Mail.  I don’t post much in the way of newspaper articles.  They tend to go the way of junk science, but this article made a good argument.  As few as three absences from school can have a significant impact on student achievement on standardized tests.  This same correlation might be extended to classroom assessments and academic progress.

A note to consider: correlation does not necessarily mean causation.  There are multiple complexities in the lives of the students at the center of this study.  Still, the point is a good one.  The academic calendar is a deliberate mechanism designed to build understanding.  Interruptions to plans, sequence and content delivery can and will result in diminished student achievement.

Enjoy the story.

Dr. James Milgram Hates Common Core, but why?

Dr. James Milgram leads an attack on another front in support of low standards.

A cursory study of Dr. Milgram et al points to a common thread.  Both Milgram and Stotsky point to the fear that students rising up through the system will be ill-served by requiring new, stronger standards, particularly in the middle grades as Stotsky (2013) argues.



Milgram, J. (2010)

Stotsky, S., (2013)

Common Core opponents expose their ignorance

Dr. Sandra Stotsky presents a heavily editorialized non-research based argument dated 26JAN2013.

She misses the point that CCSS has, at its heart, to simplify the standards.  These standards repeat skills from Elementary to MS, from MS to HS.

Some of these skills deal with facts and ideas, sequencing, author’s purpose, comparing/contrasting, main idea and details, making inferences and generalizations and identifying literary elements (characters, plot, setting, structure).  Some of which Dr. Stotsky needs to review for paragraph 5 of her article.

CCA students are being taught to the CCSS.  This has proven successful based on the most recent round of standardized tests at the elementary level.  Her presumption that Common Core State Standards exist to fail students is erroneous and foolish (paragraph 6).

As for Paragraph 7, Dr. Stotsky needs to go back to school.  Standards are not lesson plans, nor are they curriculum maps.  They are standards to which these devices should guide instruction throughout the school year.

It appears that Dr. Stotsky is a blind apologist for the old way.  The way that dropped American student achievement to levels below Poland, New Zealand, Belgium and the like.  U.S. students ranked just above Hungary, Slovakia and Russia.

Her bent toward classical education has blinded her to the necessity of change.

Technology vs. Tactics (Pedagogy)


World War I was a conflict in which technology and practice found themselves at odds.  New military technology was out-pacing the tactics of the day.  Thousands of brave men dutifully marched into machine gun nests expecting to break the grip that the new technology had on the battlefield.  In the end, the technological advantage was overcome by the application of a new technological tool.  April 1917 brought the tank into the conflict.  Conflicts are often determined by the side which adapts to the changes first.  For Educators, the challenge today is straight forward.  We need to develop programs which reflect current reality.  So often schools rely upon a paradigm that has been made obsolete by technology.  Our planning is based on frameworks we would have been happy to apply to the days when we were in school — and likely were. 

Larry Johnson reminds us, that in education, “Our Strategic Planning is based on a world which no longer exists.”

We need to be flexible.  We need to look at the challenges that we face and make sober assessments about what we need to change in order to develop the programs of the future…and the Present.

Common Core State Standards — A Video.

In the past, state educational standards have ensured we have fifty floating standards of educational success.  This has created a system in which seniors frequently read at a third grade level.  It is a recipe for failure.  Fortunately, governors and education leaders in the states have had the foresight to work toward balancing the system to help all American students compete against their international competitors at higher levels.

Key to the success of Common Core is the understanding that “Standards do not equal learning.” Even the best standards rely upon competent, well-trained teachers to direct the class in the course of instruction.

Inasmuch as they point toward transfer goals from mathematics,reading and language arts these standards must be extended to apply to other areas as well.

The following video from dcpublicschools is a concise explanation of Common Core State Standards.