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October 9, 2013
Regarding letter writer Tony DiStefano's perceptive comments about the Common Core curriculum, I would add that the obvious cracks in this structure should make parents worried about the education leadership that thought this was a good idea to inflict on families and communities ( "Common Core isn't ready for prime time," Oct. 1). Children should never have to ride a plane that is being built as it flies. An engineer or airline who tried such a stunt would be jailed for child abuse.
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NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2014
Last year, the Common Core was debated by everyone from conservative talk show hosts to parents flooding state capitals, and teachers rebelled against a new evaluation system they believe is unfair. Now it's year two for the phase-in of controversial education reforms. And while students returning to Maryland classrooms this week may be blissfully unaware of the debate, they will see more changes. First, they can forget about the MSA (Maryland School Assessment) and learn the name for new state tests: PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers.
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NEWS
November 8, 2013
When Common Core surfaced, minus its testing, student reading and math test scores plunged and are predicted to do so again this semester ( "Maryland students show no significant gains on national tests," Nov. 7). Further, teachers initially received directions to teach critical thinking across curriculum, without instruction as to how to do so, and they learned that their job evaluations depended on positive outcomes. Some then asked students, without having read it, to act out Homer's "The Odyssey" and told them that would be on the test.
NEWS
July 21, 2014
State officials deeply vested in new Common Core curriculum mandates and tests want us to believe that marked student declines on state tests since Common Core moved into place aren't Common Core's fault ( "MSA warning signs," July 14). Even though Common Core is supposed to be more difficult than previous tests, so far it is not causing children to ace the old tests. Rather, it's been the opposite. That's very odd. But there are two big, interdependent problems with the scenario now playing out in Maryland schools.
NEWS
October 22, 2013
In a recent story about implementing the Common Core standards, reporter Liz Bowie quoted Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance as saying of the new curriculum: "We are building the plane as we fly it, but let's be clear; our passengers are safe" ( "Teachers complain about access to new curriculum Sept. 23). Seriously? It sounds like the pilots are being expected to fly without a flight plan or an operations manual. Kim Vicchio, Catonsville
NEWS
June 18, 2014
I loved, loved, loved Emily Blumenauer's commentary, "Quit complaining about Common Core" (June 17)! I taught high school math in Preston County in West Virginia for 3 ½ years, and during the 2012-2013 school year, we began rolling out the Common Core standards in math. The resistance from fellow teachers, administrators, parents and students sapped the passion for teaching from my soul, and I quit in the middle of the 2013-2014 school year. I now work in the field of education but far from Common Core even though I love math, love teaching and had embraced the challenge of incorporating the new teaching strategies associated with the Common Core standards.
NEWS
July 21, 2014
State officials deeply vested in new Common Core curriculum mandates and tests want us to believe that marked student declines on state tests since Common Core moved into place aren't Common Core's fault ( "MSA warning signs," July 14). Even though Common Core is supposed to be more difficult than previous tests, so far it is not causing children to ace the old tests. Rather, it's been the opposite. That's very odd. But there are two big, interdependent problems with the scenario now playing out in Maryland schools.
NEWS
Letter to the Editor | October 24, 2013
Editor: The roll out of Common Core standards in education has been as big a disaster as the roll out of Obamacare. Baltimore County Superintendent of Education, Dallas Dance, commented, "We are building the plane as we fly it. "  That telling statement by the Superintendent does not inspire confidence and we are talking about our children's education. Teachers are asking questions and not receiving answers. Students are relegated to the...
NEWS
August 30, 2012
Liz Bowie usually provides balanced and informative coverage of education issues, but she presented an absurdly rosy perspective on the national Common Core standards for K-12 English and math that start kicking in this fall ("Schools hear call for more 'rigor,'" Aug. 27). To say that a "near-national consensus" has formed in support of these one-size-fits-all curricular guidelines ignores the fact that many state legislatures adopted the Common Core in an unseemly rush to qualify for federal Race to the Top largesse, without public hearings or school board votes.
NEWS
Editorial from The Aegis | October 29, 2013
As has long been his practice, Del. Pat McDonough, who represents Western Harford in the Maryland House of Delegates, recently made some rather prescient observations about education policy in Maryland and across the U.S. and then took the opportunity to make political hay out of a bad situation. In a letter to the editor published Friday, Del. McDonough quoted Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance when he described the process by which Maryland's Common Core curriculum is being implemented: "We are building the plane as we fly it. " McDonough rightly went on to criticize Harford's neighbor county for having been the place where a critic of the Common Core was arrested for speaking out against the program during a public hearing.
NEWS
July 14, 2014
State education officials told us that scores on this year's Maryland School Assessment exams would go down, and that they most certainly did. Schools state-wide embarked last fall on their first full year of instruction tied to the Common Core standards, but the tests this spring were still tied to the old curriculum. The mismatch was such an obvious issue that many, from parents to some candidates for governor, advocated skipping the tests altogether on the grounds that they would be a waste of time and money.
NEWS
By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun | July 12, 2014
For many students who took the Maryland School Assessments this year, parts of the math sections just didn't add up. Amid the rollout of new curriculums aligned with the more rigorous Common Core standards, pass rates on the Maryland School Assessments plunged, with this year marking the steepest drops in the test's history because of a dive in math scores. There was a good chance students in grades three through eight might not have recognized at least three concepts in which they were being asked to demonstrate mastery.
NEWS
July 3, 2014
The "new higher standards" that The Sun's editorial board has just discovered as it defends the Common Core are of great interest to those who were responsible for the learning program of students for the past 50 years ( "In defense of Common Core," June 27). It is also an incredible insult to those of us who developed the curriculum and the thousands of dedicated teachers who implemented it and fostered critical thinking routinely in their classrooms. It is not new to the classroom teacher that if a second grade child needs a more challenging text, it is integrated into their program to meet their individual needs.
NEWS
July 1, 2014
As a long-time educator, I recognize the need for the Common Core State standards and strongly support them. However, as the standards have been rolled out in the public schools, some major concerns have been raised ( "In defense of Common Core," June 27). While I agree that the Common Core standards will raise student skills in all areas, my first concern is that the Common Core has not taken into account the developmental level of the child. The standards have been mapped backward to develop the skills that students will need when they graduate, yet they fail to take into account how students' brains grow.
NEWS
By Kalman R. Hettleman | June 30, 2014
The new Baltimore schools CEO, Gregory Thornton, starts work Tuesday. And regardless of the outside temperature, he'll be on a hot seat from day one. The challenges facing any urban school district superintendent are super-daunting. In Baltimore, expectations are high in the wake of the reform style and exceptional accomplishments of prior CEO Andrés A. Alonso. Moreover, Mr. Thornton's first-day assignments are a heavy load. To name just a few: budget shortfalls; the $1 billion school construction program; fiscal and authority disputes with charter schools; the controversial teacher evaluation system; and perhaps most fateful, implementation of the rigorous Common Core academic standards and tests.
NEWS
June 27, 2014
This fall, Maryland's public schools will start their second year under the Common Core Standards, and the controversy sparked by last year's rocky roll-out appears far from dying down. Parents, teachers, students and political leaders have all questioned the state's implementation of the standards, if not the standards themselves. We recognize that this transition is difficult and that some teachers and students, particularly those in higher grades, may be struggling to adapt to these new educational goals.
NEWS
July 26, 2013
If one of the reasons for the declining scores on the Maryland School Assessment tests is that teachers are already adjusting their teaching to the new Common Core, and thus are not covering all of the content that was covered on these older tests, then I would have to question the development of the old tests, any new tests, and the Common Core in general ( "State's test scores decline," July 24). Take math, for example. You can't cover all of the math content in a year-long course in one final test; therefore, you need "experts" to design tests that reflect the essential material in a given math course.
NEWS
July 3, 2014
The "new higher standards" that The Sun's editorial board has just discovered as it defends the Common Core are of great interest to those who were responsible for the learning program of students for the past 50 years ( "In defense of Common Core," June 27). It is also an incredible insult to those of us who developed the curriculum and the thousands of dedicated teachers who implemented it and fostered critical thinking routinely in their classrooms. It is not new to the classroom teacher that if a second grade child needs a more challenging text, it is integrated into their program to meet their individual needs.
NEWS
June 26, 2014
I read with interest the commentary by Emily Blumenauer about her thoughts on teachers who, as she put it, whine about the Common Core ( "Quit complaining about Common Core," June 16). As a 34-year teaching veteran, I found her beliefs insulting, demeaning and self-serving. I believe the Common Core was developed by a privileged, highly-educated, snobby, ethnocentric conglomeration of corporate elitists and some ivory towered university professors who had little or no actual experience in the public school classroom.
NEWS
June 19, 2014
Emily Blumenauer's commentary instructing teachers "quit complaining about Common Core" is an example of how the follow-the-crowd mentality of our society seeks to silence those brave enough to stand up to wrongs ( "Quit complaining about Common Core," June 16). The complacent don't want to hear from dissenters because it makes their own submissive obedience so obvious. Many teachers are raising concerns about the implementation of Common Core not only on their own behalf but on behalf of their students as well.
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