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.



Formative Assessment for the Common Core Literacy Standards

Clem, Katy


Calfee, R., Wilson, K. M., Flannery, B., & Kapinus, B. (2014). Formative Assessment for the Common Core Literacy Standards. Teachers College Record, 116(11), 1-32. Retrieved from

“Assessment for learning rather than testing of achievement”…yes! Outlines common core standards clearly; provides insight into formative assessment method for evaluating learning in a meaningful way.

The team of authors succeeded at clearly laying out and explaining what is actually written in the Common Core standards, weeding through varied and expansive opinion on the issue to get to their express purpose and core. The approach to assessment outlined in this article focuses on the process of gathering feedback on student learning with a goal of adjusting ongoing teaching, linking closely to the connected goals and approaches found in inquiry-based learning. I still wonder how this approach can be scaled to evaluate efficacy across a state or nation; can the original goal of national standards, reducing discrepancies in educational opportunity based on socioeconomic or geographical factors and ensuring that all schools provide equal educational opportunity, be achieved without the norm of standardized testing? I am deeply encouraged by what I’m reading regarding the direction in which assessment is headed, but I am still stuck on what that looks like when scaled to a national level or tied to federal funding.



Frey, Jennifer


Smith, M. I., Schiano, A., & Lattanzio, E. (2014). Beyond the Classroom. Knowledge Quest, 42(3), 20-29. Retrieved from
                 This article talks about librarians being a driving force in education. It brings up the common core standards and how they have changed the role of the librarian. This article also explains lexile framework for reading. It gives a background on lexile and describes how it is used by educators and librarians to help pair up students with the proper reading materials and increase their readiness for college and careers.

I enjoyed this article because the lexile score was something I was curious about anyway. I liked how it listed both the lexile codes and scores. I think this article could be helpful to future educators/librarians who wanted to know more about the lexile framework.  

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.

Clusters in Common Core

     Clusters or text sets are used in Common Core practices to engage and build on learning concepts. The idea is that students and adults are given multiple materials on the same subject to review in order to support student creativity and develop a complete perspective. When readers see that knowledge is not fixed, that there is no single way to represent an idea, a literary theme, a historical event, or a scientific concept, they see the role of the author in new and exciting ways (Aronson, Capiello, Zarnowski, 2012). The way students can synthesize information from clusters is obviously beneficial. As a graduate student, this approach to learning is practiced habitually. Developmentally, I’m concerned that too much information in a cluster may be misused or overstimulating for a young student. When I’m given one uninterrupted task, I can sit down and complete the project from beginning to end. If these students begin, and are given more, and then a little more, and are then asked to end, and take away a “Big Think”, I believe it’s important for educators to repeat, and check-in often to determine if a student has grasped the first concept before cross-referencing with other topics. I would like to see clusters happening in our education system, but I would like to see lessons that present one material for one subject as well. I think it’s possible for both types of lessons to have value in a student’s education. This type of instruction is perfect for a teacher librarian to facilitate. With appropriate support and guidance, cluster lessons can easily surpass initial expectations. The article fails to share how long a cluster lesson lasts. For younger students, it seems a cluster lesson should take longer, which would mean less subjects are covered in a school year given the amount of time students have for education.
Clustering and the Common Core
By Marc Aronson, Mary Ann Cappiello, and Myra Zarnowski on December 2, 2012

Differences Between Learning and Education

Johnson, Meghan


Heick, T. (2014). Learning is different than education. TeachThought. Retrieved from

Summary: Terry Heick bases his whole article around a quote by Wendell Berry: “… all our problems tend to gather under two questions about knowledge: having the ability and desire to know, how and what should we learn? And, having learned, how and for what should we use what we know?” This excellent quote is not only used to break down the differences between learning and modern education, but also how modern education needs to be a more communal process. Learning is self-directed and driven by curiosity. Education is guided and caused, a measured policy. Heick argues that education needs to be a more communal process, a process in which everyone contributes.

Evaluation: Once again, I find myself baffled for having never looked at learning and education through this lens. As many in our class are, Heick is extremely critical of current education which is based in Common Core assessments and detached community input. Common Core, then, is just a promise to the community that all students will know certain things; the burden is placed on the teachers to fulfill this promise. This is a thought that I have long had. I could say that I did not like the current educational system, but, without having a viable alternative, I was at my wits end on what else to do. I think Heick has that solution. Education has gotten a bad reputation because of Common Core, but it really can be the pillar of any community as a learning tool. In order to be that pillar, though, the community needs to be involved in the learning process. Community, in my mind, refers to parents, siblings, grandparents, local businesses, anyone who has an investment in the community and helping everyone grow. Putting the “burden” of education on teachers alone helps to create this problem.

We need to give students educational opportunities outside of their protective bubble at school. Education needs to extend beyond the classroom.