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  1. #1

    D.C. Bets Big on Common Core - Hopes, frustrations mark experience

    From Education Week by Catherine Gewertz:
    The big clock in Dowan McNair-Lee's 8th grade classroom is silent, but she can hear the minutes ticking away nonetheless. On this day, like any other, the clock is a constant reminder of how little time she has to prepare her students—for spring tests, and for high school and all that lies beyond it.

    As an English/language arts teacher in the common-core era, Ms. McNair-Lee is part of a massive nationwide push to turn millions of students into powerful readers and writers.

    The District of Columbia, where she's taught for 11 years, was quick to adopt the Common Core State Standards. But putting them into practice demands a heavy lift: With their emphasis on mastery of complex text, the standards require far stronger literacy skills than most students here—and many in the 46 states that also adopted the common core in English—currently possess.

    Serving mostly disadvantaged children, the school system in the nation's capital faces an especially steep climb as it implements the new standards.

    "Every day when they come to class, there is so much they don't know," Ms. McNair-Lee said one day last winter. "Every day, I'm trying to fill in those gaps. Some days I feel like I just can't do enough."

    Mikel Robinson is one of the students she is trying to support. The 14-year-old has had an uneven year in her class. His work shows promise, but too many assignments are incomplete or missing; he bombs too many tests. Ms. McNair-Lee watches over Mikel as much as she can with 128 students revolving through her day. But she agonizes about him as his teetering grades hover just at the edge of her reach.

    How well the school district can reach Mikel is an open question as it brings the common standards into the classroom. And it's one that resonates nationwide, where students like Mikel sit at millions of desks in schools that are trying to do the same.

    In districts of all sizes, teachers are scrambling to get their arms around the new guidelines. The demand for good curricular resources and professional development outstrips their availability.

    The response here to those dynamics has been to bet big on the common standards, with a full-bore K-12 English/language arts implementation that features some of the most leading-edge instructional resources and far-reaching professional development in the nation, experts say.

    "The district has done this more comprehensively than most places in the country," says Michael D. Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which analyzed the district's emerging common-core program. "DCPS is in full tilt, whole-hog."

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  2. #2
    I commend DOE for raising the common core standards. I cannot image any other way through which a student's knowledge and skill can be evaluated. I will start a petition to support DOE's decision on this.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Parentsforfaireducation View Post
    I commend DOE for raising the common core standards. I cannot image any other way through which a student's knowledge and skill can be evaluated. I will start a petition to support DOE's decision on this.
    I will sign it when you do.

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