Educators, Parents Debate the Common Core

Sue, Jason


APA Citation

CBS Sunday Morning. (2014, September 14). Educators, parents debate the Common Core. Retrieved from


Despite being a federal initiative, Common Core was started as nationwide collaboration from the state level to develop nationwide standards. 45 states and D.C. initially adopted Common Core and were offered grant money in return for participation. One of the benefits of Common Core was that it raised the standards of states like Tennessee and allowed more accurate comparisons of the academic achievements rates of various states. Despite these benefits, implementation of the Common Core has not been without pushback.

Many conservatives felt that the federal government should not be dictating curriculum even if it was the states who had the power to accept or reject Common Core. Opposition to Common Core was also strong in Progressives states. One of the criticisms of progressives was that the standards that Common Core set were unrealistic; and to support their argument, they singled out have specific test questions as being too difficult for certain grade levels. Education can be condensed into a series of increased standards. While Common Core may be flawed, it was a step in the right direction.


This is an outstanding synopsis of the controversy surrounding Common Core.


The Difference Between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind

Sue, Jason


APA Citation

The Understood Team. (n.d.). The difference between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind. Retrieved from


This resource gives a side by side comparison of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In both acts, the onus is on the States to hold students accountable. One of primary differences between the two acts is that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is more flexible about the of setting academic goals than its predecessor the No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Also, NCLB did not limit the proportion of students who could take an alternative test whereas ESSA limited the proportion to 1% of test takers. As a measure of accountability, the ESSA allows a wide range of factors such as reading and math test scores, high school graduation rates, as well as other optional factors such as kindergarten readiness. In contrast, the NCLB’s measures of accountability focused on academic achievement relying primarily on reading and math test scores.


The Difference Between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind is a great overview on the differences between Every Student Succeeds Act and its predecessor (No Child Left Behind). It doesn’t cover the minutia but is perfect for someone who only needs a summary of these two pieces of legislation.



Understanding by Design

Hertz-Newman, Jenny


Bowen, Ryan S., (2017). Understanding by Design. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved May 2018 from

This is almost like a mini-class in the backwards design model for constructing courses and units of study.  It reminds me of standards based planning/instruction in which instruction is based on the goal of students mastering the standard and lesson follows from that end goal.  This site has both text and video and the main aspects of backwards design are broken down clearly and in an interesting way.  There are also lesson planning templates and ideas for assessment.  I appreciate the focus on design for understanding and critical thinking in this model.


Under Siege

Harman, Sheila

           Gibson, S. & Royal, C. ( 2017). The Schools: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Under Siege, Teachers College Record, Vol. 119.


Learning about what is missing in education, and what we have had to give up as a result of educational reform, is never a particularly uplifting topic. The endless reports of low test scores and a widening achievement gap always points to the need for more accountability, yet our schools are blindsided by budget cuts or state takeovers that limit the teaching of some of the basic instruction, like culturally relevant pedagogy (CPR) that has been proven to engage learners. Reading about what has happened across the nation, what happens in districts with federal takeovers, and about the whittling away of a type of teaching called CPR is hard to read, but the authors provide examples from Philadelphia and outline historic mandates, like NCLB (No Child Left Behind) while telling an ongoing story that needs to be heard. They present real and hypothetical research and weave in details about powerhouse players, like Arlene Ackerman, a SDP board member, who managed to hopscotch across the nation pushing a hardline reform. The authors scrutinize new school programs and their attack on the teaching of social political consciousness. They believe, that as educators, meaning all of us, we are trading hyper-standardization for cultural pride tenants in an effort to homogenize students.  They explain that there is no quantitative research to back up the current trends in educational reform. The article sends a clear message about how cultural analysis lessons have replaced political analysis lessons and why that should not be acceptable.

Rating: I think many of us should read this article and take note of the authors. Their next step maybe a made for television docu-drama, yes, that good!

CA-21st Century Standards and Curriculum

St Clair, Deb
Alismail, H. A., & McGuire, P., Dr. (2015). 21st century standards and
    curriculum: Current research and practice. Journal of Education and
    Practice, 6(6), 150-154. Retrieved from
Summary:  This article describes how the Common Core Standards support the type of learning necessary for our students in the 21st Century.  

This article provides a very clear connection between 21st Century Skills and the Common Core Curriculum.  There is sufficient, detailed background provided to understand the Common Core and 21st Century Skills.  In addition, the article describes how presenting students with real-world challenges makes learning authentic and engaging.

From Common Core Standards to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas

Gina Ruocco

From Common Core Standards to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2012). From common core standards to curriculum: five big ideas. Retrieved from:
Article summary:
This article highlighted misconceptions surrounding The Common Core Standards and identified and explained five big ideas that could serve as recommendations for educators working with the Standards. The recommendations are meant to help educators use the Standards in a way that will guide students to their full potential and to ultimately arm them with independent transfer skills.
The five big ideas in the article included :
1. Big Idea # 1 – The Common Core Standards have new emphases and require a careful
2. Big Idea # 2 – Standards are not curriculum;
3. Big Idea # 3 – Standards need to be “unpacked”;
4. Big Idea # 4 – A coherent curriculum is mapped backward from desired
5. Big Idea #5 – The Standards come to life through the assessments;
I found this article extremely helpful in defining sometimes ambiguous educational terminology (standard, curriculum, assessment). I also thought the writers did a great job communicating how daunting it is as a teacher to be presented with new Standards and revamp a curriculum in order to meet the new Standards. The idea that it takes time to unpack the Standards and plan backward is key and could perhaps galvanize administration into providing more time for teachers to backward plan and prepare for the upcoming units.

Independent School Librarians and Common Core: What Are We Doing?

Brandt, Alisa

MacLean, C. D. (2013, December 25). Independent school librarians and Common
    Core: What are we doing? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Independent Ideas

CO-Collaboration Strategies
CO-School Organization
IL-Communication of Products

I have had over 15 years of experience working in independent school libraries and now eight MLIS courses under my belt. I have noticed a serious lack of scholarly library research materials directed entirely at independent school libraries so my goal is to find materials that will support this underrepresented population.
Most independent schools do not rely on government funding and thus do not have to implement programs such as Common Core. The idea is that the curriculum will have already included those standards and content and more. So, it follows that independent school libraries will have other standards and goals to help the school accomplish their mission.
This article from the Association of Independent School Librarian’s blog Independent Ideas is about how independent school librarians addressed the emergence of Common Core Standards in their libraries. As will most standards and guidelines, independent school librarians tend to study up on the newest state and national standards and look for ways to integrate the best of what would apply to their schools. C. D. MacLean offered her library’s solution of using the AASL CCSS Crosswalk in combination with their school’s own standards to create a document that will help compare their alignment with the state standards. This would allow the librarians to focus on areas that will meet their school standards while including the state standards.
There are also some suggestions of useful LibGuides and an iPad app that will help Language Arts teachers integrate technology into the classroom.
Evaluation: Seeing examples of how independent school librarians are working with state standards helps me understand how I can apply them to my own library. The links and the app suggestion are also very helpful.

Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards

Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards
Binh Tran
Lord, Kathleen M., Andrea M. Noel, and Bridgette Slevin. “Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards.” Journal of Research in Childhood Education 30.3 (2016): 389-405. Web.
In response to the apparent achievement gap in 4th grade Social Studies results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, Lord, Noel and Slevin conducted the following study. The researchers examined the state standards of nine different states and compared them to the contents of the NAEP to determine whether or not what students were being taught were actually being addressed in the NAEP. Focus was placed upon three “global concepts” (conflict, movement, discovery) to see how standards in these states were shaped. Findings revealed that the concepts were each covered inconsistently across each of the nine states examined. Much of the time, concepts were covered in standards largely along lines of direct effect on the state’s history, if it was covered at all. Many of the mission critical concepts assessed on the NAEP are covered during the 4th grade; the exact year they are first introduced to students. Lord, Noel, and Slevin recommend that contents and concepts be split up and introduced as early as 3rd grade in order to better improve student performance and close achievement gaps.
This paper features a very impressive and extensive review of data collected regarding its topic. Writing style tends to be fairly easy to follow and isn’t too bogged down by excessive jargon common to most academic papers. The greater theme that this paper touches on is something that most people struggle with understanding: education does not simply emerge from a vacuum. It is a path that must be carefully charted with a clear understanding the topography of the area covered, as well as the larger goals and concepts that must be used to hold everything together. Assessments are not simply something that should be used to end a lesson, but rather a encapsulation of the process of learning itself.

CA-Formative and Summative Assessments

Rebecca Robinowitz


Marsha Lovette PhD, director of Carnegie Mellon University and Psychology professor (2009) What is the difference between formative and summative assessment? Retrieved from:


According to Marsha Lovette PhD, director of Carnegie Mellon University and Psychology professor (2009), summative assessment appears to be in contrast with formative assessment. Formative assessment evaluates student development and progress and summative assessment evaluates a learner’s knowledge of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Examples of summative assessments include a midterm exam, final project, paper, or standardized tests. Summative assessments provide education stakeholders tangible information about future curriculum needs. However, summative needs can be used in a formative way if it is used to guide educator efforts and activities in subsequent course.

The Common Core Frequently Asked Questions

Duffy, Leah

CA- Common Core States Standards

The Common Core FAQ. (2014, May 27). Retrieved May 20, 2016, from 
Summary/ Evaluation
NPR’s educational arm compiles 25 FAQ about the Common Core to try to debunk some of the misconceptions surrounding the standards and clarify what it is for the common person.  The questions cover everything from who developed the Common Core State Standards; to how it effects testing, teaching, math, etc.; to who stands to financially gain from the Common Core.  
There is a lot of good information compiled into a single resource for anyone interested in understanding Common Core better.  I liked the general use of easy language that is designed for non teachers.  This is a great starting point for any novices to education that want a foundation understanding of Common Core before they jump further into the standards.