April 2014

What do teachers think of the Common Core? Here’s a look into one teacher’s story:

by Nelson Garcia

ENGLEWOOD – Even though Cerri Norris teaches kids in first grade, she is working on skills that she hopes her students will use as adults and business professionals.

“This is where we want our kids to be when they’re 18-years-old, so now we need to plan backwards,” Norris said. “If these are the skills they need when they’re 18, what does that mean that they should be able to do when they’re six years old?” (more…)

ImprimirWhile many states struggle with high unemployment and too few jobs, Colorado has a unique problem — plenty of available and high-quality jobs but too few qualified workers to fill them.

Historically, importing talent has been a reliable solution, given Colorado’s natural appeal — great weather, recreation, and an affordable cost of living. From an economic perspective, Colorado welcomes the inevitable influx of talented individuals and growing companies. However, we also must ensure the state’s education system is preparing our kids to succeed in this increasingly competitive environment.

A healthy state economy relies on Colorado schools putting students on a trajectory to fill Colorado jobs, and more than ever, those jobs require education beyond high school. (more…)

USA Today’s editorial board released this op-ed, ‘Common Core’ demonized as Obamacore: Our view, outlining the political wrangling around high standards. 

site-masthead-logo@2xYou’d think an effort to improve school standards and promote higher expectations for students — adopted by 45 states, embraced by the business community, and endorsed by governors and education reformers from both parties — would be about as controversial as motherhood and apple pie.

Well, think again. Attacks against the “Common Core” standards, led by Tea Party activists and conservative pundits and lately joined by some teachers’ unions, have reached a crescendo of distortions that put students’ welfare at risk.

Last month, Indiana, which adopted the standards in 2010, became the first state to un-adopt them. Similar repeal moves are afoot in several other states.

It’s an instructive example of how easily constructive, thoughtful attempts to address the nation’s problems are derailed by political opportunism. (more…)

Brooks When the Circus Decends

We are pretty familiar with this story: A perfectly sensible if slightly boring idea is walking down the street. Suddenly, the ideological circus descends, burying the sensible idea in hysterical claims and fevered accusations. The idea’s political backers beat a craven retreat. The idea dies.

This is what seems to be happening to the Common Core education standards, which are being attacked on the right because they are common and on the left because they are core. (more…)

The Urban League supports the Common Core State Standards and has released resources for parents about the standards. Check it out!

School systems around the country are implementing new learning standards designed to ensure that all children – no matter where they live – graduate high school with the skills they need to be ready to succeed in college or careers.  These standards are known as Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and while they may have a different name in your state, they have a shared goal – to better prepare all of our children to compete in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. (more…)

appleThe Colorado State Board of Education has joined a movement advocating the state pull out of a multi-state testing consortium called — pardon the clumsy title — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

The Republican board majority believes the tests represent an intrusion of federal power and wants the state to develop its own tests, even though the PARCC tests haven’t even been given here yet.

“From my perspective, as a long time educator, when we have a federally-funded entity like PARCC, we’ve just legitimized a huge federal influence on what students are taught,” board member Debora Scheffel was quoted as saying on the website Chalkbeat Colorado. “It’s the wrong way to influence student achievement.”

If the federal government were dictating test content or underlying standards, Scheffel would be correct. But PARCC is not a federal power grab. (more…)

Al Timothyby Al Timothy

Al Timothy is the retired Vice President of Community Affairs at MillerCoors Brewing Company and co-chair of the board for Future Forward partner Colorado Succeeds. 

From corner to corner of the state, Colorado’s business community understands that the relationship between our public education system and our state’s economy is a symbiotic one—each one depends on the other for survival.

And I can tell you that the business community as a whole embraces both the moral and economic urgency behind improving our state’s public education system, which is the feeder system for our future workers and customers.

But there is one particular aspect of this relationship that demands more attention. The citizens of Colorado, and our high school students in particular, must acknowledge that the pipeline between our schools and our workplaces is changing rapidly. (more…)