01/14 - Decoding Common Core

What do Louisiana educators, parents and students think about Common Core?

Louisiana is one of forty-five states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards for Math and Language Arts, the first-ever national academic standards. Supporters of the Common Core standards say they will increase rigor and help every student learn what they need to succeed. Critics say the standards are untested, being poorly implemented and lower expectations for students.

So, what do Louisiana educators, parents and students think about Common Core? Do the new guidelines encourage students to think and be more persuasive, or do they stifle educational innovation by removing local control? Louisiana Public Square explores the controversial academic standards on “Decoding Common Core” Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at 7 PM on LPB HD.

This program is made possible in part through funding from Education's Next Horizon.

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Our Panelists:

Resources about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Common Core State Standards – Overview provided by the National Governors’ Association, a leader of the CCSS Initiative

Math Common Core Standards – Detailed description of standards

English Language Arts Common Core Standards – Detailed description of standards

Resources for Parents on Common Core – From National PTA

Resources for teachers about Common Core – provided by the La. Department of Education

Teacher Support Toolbox by grade level – provided by the La. Department of Education

Achieve the Core – Free online Common Core teacher/school district resources

Common Core Videos – Demonstrations of CCSS lesions from the Teaching Channel

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


I believe our state has wasted an enormous amount of time and resources trying to evaluate students’ education. We teach kids how to take tests (GEE, LEAP, etc.) so our schools look good when compared to others. We need to quit grading teachers on their students performance on these tests. Yes, all students should learn how to read, do math (including memorizing multiplication tables), understand community, state, national, and world geography, civics, and history. They should all learn the basic sciences, art, and physical education and health. Around the seventh grade, students interested in the professions (engineering, law, medicine, teaching, etc.) should be placed on a tract separate from those interested in the trades (carpentry, plumbing, secretarial, etc.). Common Core standards, in my opinion, would mean a student graduating from either tract would be prepared for either higher education or the work force.

Posted by George Couvillon  on  01/03  at  03:45 PM

I think that the the NBPTS national teaching standards that had been under development based on teacher, parent & student input from 1993 through 2012 would have served as a great foundation for a national curriculum.  Instead, we replaced two decades of teacher classroom experience, analysis & reflection & go with Bill Gates’ very poorly conceived & misguided EXPERIMENT! Get BUSINESS out of EDUCATION!  BUSINESS ONLY CARES ABOUT ONE THING: PROFIT!

Posted by Peggy Schwarz  on  01/14  at  10:17 AM

I have many issues with the Common Core State Standards Initiative and I will be watching your broadcast quite closely.

First of all, I don’t object to setting national minimum standards.  I believe raising the bar is a good thing and that children can step up when they are asked to and are given the proper support.  Had ACHEVE and the other non-profit’s just taken some of the very best state standards in the country, tweaked them a bit and applied them nationally I could live with that.  Those established standards have been based on scientific study and gone through years of trial so many of the “bugs” have already been worked out.  The Common Core standards have faced no such scrutiny.  All of the children in aligned systems will be used as lab rats for an experimental and deeply flawed set of standards.  One of those flaws is the fact that our minimum standards are now also our maximum standards in many ways – by design.  No procedure has been outlined for the revision of the standards and considering the cost of changing in mid-stream – any sort of a revision is financially p!
rohibited once CCSS are firmly in place. 

Do you get that?  Our minimum standards are our maximum standards

According to the CCSS ELA implementation guide: “There is an important paradox inherent in the CCSS: The Common Core establishes a one-size fits all common set of college and career readiness learning goals for all students— no matter who they are, where they are, or what their circumstances may be.” The College Board has said that they are unable to reconcile “many AP courses with the Common Core. In particular, AP Calculus is in conflict with the Common Core.” “It lies outside the sequence of the Common Core because of the fear that it may unnecessarily rush students into advanced math classes for which they are not prepared.”  “If you’re worried about AP Calculus and fidelity to the Common Core, we recommend AP Statistics and AP Computer Science,” So, according to Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, you can’t take Calculus anymore, even if you are prepared.  That’s not the only place where education is limited but it is the most obvious. 

While I often hear people say that supplemental material may be added to enrich the standards it is strictly limited to only 15% per grade level across all disciplines.  That works out to about 30 min. a week by my count.  Not enough material to make any marked difference. They are very clear about that limitation.  According to the CCSS final implementation guide (pg 22) “A literal interpretation by states of the 15% guideline (that is 15% added at every grade level and in each subject) would undermine the very reason the states developed the Common Core State Standards in the first place.”

{side note: do you notice that while “state” is in the name of the standards the states are not to make any changes so they match the standards in every other aligned state?  Wouldn’t that make them in fact federal standards?  Just a question you should ask yourself

At the magnet schools here in Jefferson Parish, students who used to do work several years ahead of their grade level are now stuck working on things they covered ages ago.  They are capable of so much more!  Gifted children who were being challenged academically are now crying themselves to sleep, dreading the boredom that school has become.  I have seen it happen… in my own home. 

Another huge issue that I have is that the Common Core standards seem to presume that even very young students can, and should, learn to make sophisticated leaps in reasoning, like little children dressing in their parents’ clothes.  Just from the worksheets and homework around here that is obvious.  I am not an expert in early education but with 4 little kids I do have quite a bit of understanding. 

My daughter, age 6, had the following question on her math homework not too long ago.  “Explain what strategy you used to answer question 4?”  She is gifted but not that gifted.  I can’t count the number of times where the instructions are too advanced for the students to understand what they are supposed to do.  It’s crazy.  I also think the methods she is being taught to use are overly complicated.  Transforming a simple problem into a confusing one does not promote “critical thinking”.  It is a waste of time.  The fact that most of these methods won’t translate into higher order mathematics at all makes them even worse. 

The common core standards and the materials being produced, by companies like Pearson and Mcgraw-Hill, to align to them fail to take the actual children using their products into account.  I could give countless examples where this is more than obvious. Early education is where the foundations are laid and that is where the flaws in the system are at their worst. 

Sorry to be so long winded but this a personal issue for me.  I deal with these standards every night at my kitchen table.

Posted by Jaime  on  01/14  at  02:41 PM

I am glad that ExxonMobil has made this program possible.  Several years ago, my daughter was exposed to an investigative/discovery type of math (also known as Fuzzy Math, Wordy Math, etc.) now being driven by the Common Core Standards. The private school where my daughter attended accepted a grant from the government to teach this type of math. In addition the school agreed to track the children’s progress or lack of with respect to this math program which originated from the University of Chicago. By the end of the 5th grade, many of these children tested into 3rd grade math and some developed math anxiety as well. To the school’s credit, they discontinued this math program. When some of us saw this same type of math popping up in both public and parochial schools in St. Tammany Parish, we began sounding the alarms. I sincerely hope that ExxonMobil will learn something from this forum even though it appears that most of the people on this panel are pushing these flawed standards. It is my understanding that ExxonMobil has made statements to the effect that they want their potential employees to receive a Common Core Education. I hope that they will take a closer look at what they are pushing. If this is the type of math education that their engineers are going to receive, I am seriously concerned for the safety of all ExxonMobil employees on any onshore/offshore rigs as well as the future of all coastlines with respect to future catastrophes where ExxonMobil rigs are located. I don’t think ExxonMobil would use blowout preventers if they were not tested. I would hope that they would not promote Common Core’s untested/experimental standards as well.

Posted by Debbie Sachs  on  01/15  at  01:09 PM

I think this has been an absolute waste of money. When are these “reformers” going to be held accountable for the destruction of public education. It is apparent that the LDOE only wants in charters and vouchers and do not care about the teacher, parent or especially the children. They are more concerned with pushing their reform agenda.

The math standards are a complete joke! Why wouldn’t the education professionals writing them sign off? Because Algebra II is not STEM ready. Why companies such as Exxon Mobile support this is beyond me! It can only mean they will see an increase in profits because they will NOT see an increase in engineers!

Why was this never tested? Why weren’t child development specialists consulted? This is akin to child abuse. Young kids cannot think abstractly. I agree with a comment above that the best states standards should have been used if these consortiums really wanted a better education product. Obviously, this is not the case. Companies such as Pearson, Achieve, College Board, etc are only looking to line their pockets.

Now the real issue of data mining is coming out. Why are parents not allowed to opt their kids out of this? Why won’t John White and the LDOE tell us what companies he has agreements with? The state and feds do not need to track our kids from cradle to grave and pigeon hole them into a menial job they think a kid is qualified to do.

There is so much wrong with this program. It will not create better students. It will create more drop outs and lower all the standards. Kids do not learn at the same pace and the best and brightest will be wasting their time. The special ed students should not be subjected to these Federal tests like PARCC. This is not state led. There are so many lies the supports state. Who cares how kids perform on some international test. That has nothing to do with knowledge and a love of learning. This program is destroying the teaching profession in lieu of 5 week training like Teach for America.

The legislators need to wake up and get us out of this disaster as it is quite apparent that John White and BESE are bought and sold! There are no ethics being shown as you look at who is on the board and how they got there.

Posted by Jenny  on  01/16  at  09:26 AM

In short, common core is garbage. I have 2 boys, one in high school and the other middle, and the work they both bring home is simply amazing. Since when does 6th grade math REQUIRE a calculator? It was on their school supply list, its asked for in the homework instructions just to convert a % to a decimal! Look at where we are in the world today. Think about the minds that got us here and the education system that did it. I dont know why anyone would ever think it needed to be changed.

“If it aint broke, dont fix it”.

Posted by Jimmy  on  01/19  at  05:47 PM

Communist Core is NOT about Education…it is about Control.
Once the Socialists and the Educrats in Washington, D.C. have control of the education of our Children, they will slowly morph it into what THEY think YOUR children SHOULD learn…Communism. Socialism.

If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

http://www.killcommoncore.com

Posted by killcommoncore.com  on  01/22  at  05:21 PM

If you really wanted to have a good, neutral discussion regarding the fate of MY child’s education, you wouldn’t have allowed EXXON MOBIL to sponsor this. The deck has been nothing but stacked in favor of CC and I, for one, have an anti-Common Core page that has over 3,200 members. Why is a so-called set of standards copyrighted? A set of standards is WHAT children should learn in a given school year. A curriculum is HOW it is to be taught. Common Core IS a curriculum, no matter what the “experts” tell us. Why is time being taught on a number line instead of a clock? Is it so that the lower performing students will have a chance to learn and the rest of the children will be dumbed down? That’s exactly what it is. COMMON CORE-RAISING THE STANDARDS BY LOWERING THE BAR.

Posted by Traci Miller  on  01/22  at  07:41 PM

Standards are great.  Raising standards are good too.  However, when you bring them down to a level that children are not cognitively developed for is just going to lead to more problems.
Children in Pre-K need to be learning conflict resolution, playing appropriately, etc, not worried about coming out of Pre-K reading.  They have even taken naps away in Kindergarten this year.  So now you make them do things that are not age appropriate, nor allow them to get the rest God intended for them to have. 
Listening to them say they are getting down to the bottom of Math wanting them to show their work on how did they get their answer…Really then why do they have to do the problem a number of other ways except the traditional way.  No textbooks, having to develop things without anything except a standard, holding a teacher’s evaluation based on one test score.  What about those who don’t test well.  Not to mention holding ALL educators to the same evaluation rubric, no matter what class they teach.  What chance does a teacher with non-verbal students have on a rubric based on basically the teacher introducing a lesson and the kids teaching it to each other.  REALLY I mean come back to reality.

Posted by anonymous  on  01/22  at  07:44 PM

I don’t understand how some very intelligent people somehow believe that the children in LA are so special that they need a unique education system.  The population is extremely mobile, so much so that children need to be on the same level with students in other parts of the USA. If mom or dad takes a new job in Indianapolis or Seattle (because of brain drain), their children need to be up to speed no matter where they go.  Yes, we have a unique culture. Embrace it, but don’t let it hold us back.

Posted by Gayle Causey  on  01/22  at  07:47 PM

Massachusetts is #1 in education in this country. Why then, are they trying to stop Common Core? This is a follow-up to my previous comment.

Posted by Traci Miller  on  01/22  at  07:50 PM

It seems Mr. Bradford & Ms Bennett were well practiced in re-phrasing the same answers supporting common core without giving anyone any information of assistance. As a state & as a nation we have already had far too much trial & error socialism. Regardless how low or high our current educational standards at any given time the goal should always be to try & do better tomorrow than today. However, it should not be done by politicians enacting flawed policies to be corrected at the expense of our students, parents and teachers. This should be brought to public vote to let Louisiana citizens decide if they want their children’s education to be a political experiment.
    Also, when LPB has fundraisers they have a room full of telephones & operators for people to call in, I didn’t notice any phones or operators for La citizens to call in with any questions or to voice their opinions tonight. Is this really what LPB & our state government consider giving La citizens a voice on the subject?

Posted by Fred  on  01/22  at  08:22 PM

http://www.apts.org/grantcenter/success-stories/louisiana-public-broadcasting-works-exxonmobil-promote-stem-education-th

Posted by Traci Miller  on  01/22  at  08:25 PM

In addition to the list of resources you posted, there are others that are sponsored by concerned parents. 

Louisiana Parents Against Common Core - www.lapacc.com

Stop Common Core in Louisiana - www.louisianacore.org

as well as numerous groups on Facebook.

Posted by Elizabeth West  on  01/22  at  10:55 PM

Mr. Bradford, when you say we are currently using Louisiana resources are you just referring to the teachers? Louisiana jumped on that ship with the other states to receive federal funds/bribes as well. That’s why it was implemented too early, because of the incentives. Some of the books the schools are using now, and all will be if Common Core is not shut down, are pretty much based out of Washington, D.C. Yes, Pearson is the publisher of my daughter’s school’s Common Core math book; however, the National Governor’s Association and the CCSSO holds the copyright of the book and will hold the copyright of ALL Common Core publications. They make that perfectly clear on the nga.org website. Yes, they are both non-profits…based out of Washington, D.C. They each represent EVERY state; one represents the nation’s governors and the other represents every state’s head of the department of elementary and secondary education. If people would take the time to research, but they have to dig deep because it’s not just out there for them to see, they WILL find the federal government’s role in Common Core. I will continue to do my research and spread the word to everyone I know, the truth must be known and Common Core must be stopped.

Posted by Mandy  on  01/23  at  01:10 AM

This is typical liberal propaganda. They put three people up there holding their favored opinion and two who do not in order to give the appearance that this has more public approval than it does. The Exxon rep’s stance ia understandable being as all he is concerned about is a bottom line for his company, but this Ken Bradford fellow and the crazy Title I teacher on the end are just spewing lies and half truths. It’s infuriating.

Posted by Kristina G  on  01/23  at  04:53 AM

I’m a parent that has worked closely with my child and children of others. I am on board with the implementation of the CCC. The CCC will force all instructors to teach at a high quality level. However, with the consideration that kids learn at different paces, why isn’t there a curriculum that allows students and teachers to gradually reach the the standards of the CCC over a reasonable length of time? An after school and weekend program that allows students to be able to have more time to study will definitely assist in meeting the CCC standards. Also, consider that in today´s society, many parents are single working parents who do not have a schedule with the flexibility to put in the extra time that is needed to understand and assist their children with this curriculum.

Posted by Leontine Sorina  on  01/23  at  10:20 AM

Well, I was wondering what about Maya Bennett. She is associated with TFA, which explains why she has no clue about what real teaching is about. Also, she isn’t even a regular classroom teacher. She is a reading interventionist. You could tell by her comments that she is just looking to move up to an administrative position. Classroom teachers don’t agree with her. Also the assistant superintendent from the state department said there were multiple resources in the tool box to help teachers. Oh, my goodness! Has he looked in that tool box lately? It’s not teacher friendly at all and is of very little help to teachers.

Posted by A Bailey  on  01/23  at  10:22 AM

First, someone who has once been in the classroom for three years once upon a time, has no actual idea of what is happening today. Second, there is nothing wrong with the standards in Common Core; what is wrong is the way it has been implemented. Third, what is wrong with education in this state has to do with the lack of actual supervision and guidance given to teachers in the classroom. The rigor certainly needs to be there, but many teachers do not know how to develop this type of curriculum. We have to let students fail until they realize that they will fail until they study and work to achieve. Everyone is so scared about failure rates that they have not looked at why students fail. Loopholes exist all over allowing students to miss 30-50 days and school and still pass. Students are allowed to repeat tests and assignments until they pass. They don’t know the material and it is not in their long term memory—they have just looked at the same thing for so long that they finally guess and correctly. Students have learned how to play the game. They don’t study, don’t come to school, and don’t do assignment, because they know that they will eventually have enough opportunities that they will pass. Why should they be focused on school and they are not. Teachers are allowed and encouraged to just pass student and give them chance after chance to pass a test or an assignment. The students do not know the material; they have just taken the same material for so long that they pass right then, but they have not long term learning. What is needed in this state is a strong vocational program that will allow all students to find employment and become active, progressive citizens. Testing and testing will not achieve this goal. Every student does not need to go to college. Consider how much a plumber or a carpenter makes for his skills. Common Core by itself is not the evil doer. Those who have decided that what will make education better is to test and test and test. Pre-test, post-test every three weeks does not increase learning and does not mean rigor. Great discussions need to be held with real teachers not those who have been in the classroom a few years or ones who are just seeking to elevate themselves to administrative positions or legislative positions. No one actually listens to what is going on, and I’m not convinced anyone actually cares. Making every student take the ACT—even those who not going to college—is a mistake all around. Common Core is just a neat little package to once again cast as the savior of education. It is not, nor is any other canned program. No one wants to hear that teachers have to be in their classrooms and monitored every day for the rigor of their work.

Posted by Nancy Monroe  on  01/23  at  10:25 AM

I just watch your program on educatiom. I was particular interested in the question by the gentlemen regaring the respossbility of the parent/guardian. The question was answered by only one comment regarding an open door policy. Why not have a program how and why it is necessary for the parent guarding invilvement. What good is it for all that is done if there is not full involement with the parent and guardian. One thing that could be made in this discussion is should it be MANDATORY for the parent guardian. !!!!

Posted by A J Amato  on  01/23  at  10:27 AM

Many of you do NOT understand the poverty of our rural poor school districts. This is a great state; but, not as great as it should be. Come visit us in Tensas Parish and you will be informed about the districts that have not been provided the funding and support required to educate children in what could be a great state.

Posted by W. D. Corson  on  01/23  at  10:29 AM

Thank you, A. Bailey for pointing that out about Maya Bennett. I looked her up and found the same thing. I also posted a question to TFA, but they haven’t responded. Maybe someone here can answer it for me. Is there ANY member of Teach For America that is an actual, current or former, classroom teacher? So far, I haven’t found a single one. Maybe TFA is a club for people to join so they can get on panels such as LPB/Exxon’s panel last night. So far, I haven’t seen anything or anyone that has come from TFA that has had a positive impact on education. John White, Arne Duncan, and NYSED Commissioner John King are just a few TFA examples. All three are sellouts. The panelists, with the exception of Barrios and Geyman, take note: We parents have spent countless hours, days, weeks, months, and even years doing our homework about Common Core. We know 2 and 2 is 4, and we don’t need 14 steps to figure that out. We will not keep silent.

Posted by Traci Miller  on  01/23  at  12:04 PM

http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/common-core-standards

I would call on the public, and certainly those business and corporate interests who have bought into the promises of Commn Core Standards, to do their own research survey by REAL education research organizations.  Here is one of many reviews of Common Core for starters.  Do not mistake the many AstroTurf non-profits that are pushing their false agenda.  Above all, I challenge the public to question people or organizations like EXXON as to their personal knowledge of the standards.  Have they even studied them before offering their support?  I hope they don’t run their businesses in such a way as to endanger their employees.  This is essentially what us happening as a result of the institution of untested poorly devised standards .

Posted by Lee Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT  on  01/24  at  12:00 PM

http://commoncore.wested.org/wp-content/themes/child/downloads/la_grade_level_expectations_comparison_ela.pdf

For those who have NOT read the Commn Core Standards nor compared them to our own Louisiana standards, here is a comparison made by WestEd as contracted by our own LDOE.  See for yourself.  Granted, some education expertise is necessary to truly understand the significance of application to a curriculum, but the public should certainly question with their own knowledge.

Posted by Lee Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT  on  01/24  at  12:11 PM

One of the things you find when you research TFA is that they spend their couple years in the classroom while trying to do something entrepreneurial, like create some new text book, or program. Their goal is to work their way up somewhere. They aren’t invested in teaching like a real teacher. Congress just also gave TFA “expert teaching” (or something like that) status. They are in no way on the same level as someone who wants to teach for a career. The man who asked about the Catholic schools should know that Jan Lancaster with the diocese is all in because of vouchers. The Cardinal Newman Society has condemned common core. There is way too much corruption with everything involved with this program as they see $ with the data mining tied to the PARCC tests. The PARCC tests are the first thing that need to go as well as the unfunded costs all this technology will cost every single parish.

Posted by Jenny  on  01/24  at  02:48 PM
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