Entries by Sandra Stotsky

How Massachusetts Promoted Achievement Before Common Core & PARCC

Before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) officially decides to adopt PARCC’s testing system in place of the testing system that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) developed in the 1990s and early 2000s, local school committees, state legislators, and parents should be able to peruse the test items used […]

Why Massachusetts Should Abandon the PARCC Tests & Common Core

It is difficult to find any public analysis and comments by teachers, parents, researchers, or literary scholars on PARCC’s “practice” and “sample” test items for English language arts for grades 3-11.   Taking the bull by the horns, that is what I decided to do in my invited testimony before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary […]

Is it Time to Rethink State Boards of Education?

Some political officials (Governor Sandoval of Nevada) and self-described policy wonks (Fordham Institute staff) are calling into question the usefulness of locally elected local school boards.  Governor Sandoval suggested replacing them with governor-appointed boards, while Fordham has argued for years against locally elected school boards and for regional authorities, possibly appointed by governors and/or legislatures. […]

Steps for States to Follow to Replace Common Core

To help out governors and state legislatures that really want to get state-tailored standards close to the quality of the pre-2010 Massachusetts and California standards–or the Indiana 2006 standards–I have provided an outline of the steps or procedures a state legislature could follow (see below). The outcomes remain open-ended.  But these procedures, based on my experiences […]

Common Core’s standards can be replaced by first-rate standards overnight

In a funny story in the Washington Post on December 24, 2014, Mike Petrilli and Michael Brickman (experts on nothing at all) claim that it will not be easy to replace Common Core’s standards with something better. They even go so far as to claim that “The basic problem is that it’s impossible to draft […]

How to Make Common Core Useful?

What could be done to make the idea of a common core across 50 states make sense in this country?  I finally have come up with what could be the solution that Governor Huckabee simply missed.  We need to relabel them high school-ready standards and give the so-called “college readiness” tests based on them in […]

How to Maintain the Massachusetts “Education Miracle”

Not by using Common Core-based standards and tests, for sure, or anything that looks like them. The English language arts and mathematics standards dumped by the Governor Patrick-appointed Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in July 2010 are nothing like Common Core’s standards. Unlike Common Core’s standards, which are not designed to prepare American high […]

How Colleges Are Dumbing Our Kids Down, Too, and What We Can Do About It

It’s not just Common Core’s standards and the curriculum teachers are putting into place to address those standards that are dumbing our kids down.  Our colleges are contributing in their own way to the problem by the books they assign incoming freshmen to read in the summer for their first “common experience.” As Beach Books: […]

Those Mathematical Societies That Supposedly Endorsed Common Core’s Standards Didn’t

Stanford University mathematics professor R. James Milgram included an informative e-mail in his packet of information for state legislators when he testified at a hearing on Common Core in Milledgeville, Georgia on September 24, 2014. The e-mail explains why presidents of many of the major mathematical organizations in the country endorsed Common Core’s standards in […]

Doubling Down on Doublespeak

This past week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by William Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues and once chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in which he defended Common Core as a conservative approach to school reform—allowing, he claimed, the preservation of our civic and cultural literary heritage.  Several days […]

What Wakefield, NH’s School Board Is Doing to Ensure a First-Rate Education for All Its Students

As state legislatures begin to pick up steam in their efforts to get rid of the Common Core octopus, with its many hidden tentacles reaching into the entire curriculum (under the guise of “literacy” standards), Common Core advocates have come up with a new ploy to ward off efforts to repeal Common Core and put […]

On Common Core, a Study in Contrasts

In a front-page article in June, the Washington Post featured corporate billionaire Bill Gates as a political sinner who deserves sainthood because his heart is in the right place.  He bought off every organization in the country and colluded with the U.S. Department of Education just to ensure that low-income students would get the same […]

7 Major Differences between No Child Left Behind and Common Core/Race to the Top

1. Focus of Accountability: Schools or Teachers Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), schools and school districts were held accountable based on student scores. Under Common Core/Race to the Top (CC/RttT), teachers are to be held accountable based on varying percentages of student scores from state to state. 2. Source of State Standards: State Agencies […]

How to Turn a Sow’s Ear into a Silk Purse

Gates, Duncan, Fordham et al misunderstood from the beginning who the strongest critics of Common Core would be.  Just because they successfully sold Common Core as a workforce development panacea to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce didn’t mean that mothers across the country were going to give up fighting for their children’s education when they […]

Legislative Common Core Remedy No Panacea

The next phase of the Great Game to control the minds of the next generation of Americans has just begun. Oklahoma is the most recent state to try to eliminate the academic malignancies entailed by Common Core.  Many Oklahomans deserve credit for the bill Governor Fallin may sign this week, especially Jenni White, an energetic mother of […]

Audio: Lead Mathematics Standards-Writer William McCallum

These audio clips are from Professor William McCallum’s remarks on college readiness in Common Core’s mathematics standards at a meeting sponsored by the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America in San Francisco, California, in January 2010. Viewers might also be interested in the video clips with Jason Zimba’s comments on college readiness […]

Debunking Common Core Myths

One of the most interesting phenomena in the “Common Core War” is the number of “myths,” “claims,” and “facts” that have been put out by the advocates of Common Core’s standards. What they claim are “myths” are usually the facts, and what they claim are “facts” are usually myths or simply claims. No wonder uninformed […]

Why Common Core’s roll-out is as bad as ObamaCare’s (by Sandra Stotsky)

It’s odd to observe just how oblivious the media have been to the chaotic roll-out of Common Core (what some are already calling ObamaCore) and the disturbing parallels with the so-called Affordable Care Act. These are the two major domestic initiatives of the Obama administration, and while attention has been paid recently to the potentially […]

Will Michael Brickman, Tim Shanahan, Politifact, Fox News, and USA Today do some careful reading, please? (by Sandra Stotsky)

In How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk (Pioneer Institute White Paper No. 89, September 2012), Mark Bauerlein and I explain why teachers and superintendents believe that Common Core reduces literary study to about 50% in the English class and where the 70% figure for informational texts comes from. With careful reading, […]

Support for Common Core’s Fuzzy Math Doesn’t Add Up (by Sandra Stotsky)

Unless high school students can prepare for a calculus course in grade 12 or as college freshmen, they are unlikely to become science, engineering, or mathematics majors.  Common Core doesn’t let them.  James Milgram’s analysis in Lowering the Bar makes that very clear. Interestingly, Jason Zimba, the lead writer of the Core’s math standards, noted […]

On Marc Tucker’s Credibility (by Sandra Stotsky)

In October, members of the New Hampshire legislature heard Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, tell them more fibs than Pinocchio ever dreamed up. How many legislators will prove to be gullible Geppettos is another matter. We don’t know. But here’s an analysis of just a few paragraphs of […]

Needed: Matriculation exams tailored to each state’s higher education system

Several decades ago, self-appointed education reformers decided that more low-performing students should go to college and graduate than now do. They concluded that the quickest route to their goal was to lower the admissions requirements at public colleges. But they also realized that sending an even larger number of low-performing students on to any form […]

Schizophrenia in the New York Times Editorial Office (by Sandra Stotsky)

The New York Times is suffering from a split personality about what the quality of public education should be. It claims it likes rigor. At the same time, it supports Common Core and its even poorer relative in the standards arena, Next Generation Science Standards. The NYT has apparently infected its education reporters with the […]

New York State Test Results: Uninterpretable But a Portent of the Future (by Sandra Stotsky)

In the original version of David Steiner’s talk on the meaning of the drop in test scores in New York State, he says: “The truth we are now trying to tell, for the first time, is relative to something called college- and career-readiness, roughly equivalent to the ability to enter a community college without the […]

9 Signs of Academic Rigor in English Standards (by Sandra Stotsky)

What makes one set of English language arts standards more rigorous than another set? How can reporters or policy makers tell? What makes Tom Luna of Idaho or Kathleen Porter Magee at the Fordham Institute think Common Core’s English language arts standards are more rigorous than Idaho’s or many other states’ previous standards? We don’t know […]

4 Steps to Upgrade Teacher & Administrator Prep Programs (by Sandra Stotsky)

How to Upgrade Teacher and Administrator Preparation Programs The part of public education that has received the least attention for reform is the most important: whom our education schools admit and how they are prepared to be teachers, administrators, education researchers, and education policy makers. Although there is very little high quality research on these […]

How Long Before Duncan and the Media Speak Out Honestly? (by Sandra Stotsky)

The notion that Common Core’s college and career readiness standards are “rigorous” needs to be publicly put to bed by Arne Duncan, his erstwhile friends at the Fordham Institute, and the media. Two of Common Core’s own mathematics standards writers have publicly stated how weak Common Core’s college readiness mathematics standards are. At a public […]

Common Core’s Cloudy Vision of College Readiness in Math (by Sandra Stotsky)

Common Core’s egalitarian tentacles are now slithering towards high school diploma requirements. In states that respond to a current prod to “align” their high school graduation requirements in mathematics with the academic level reflected in Common Core’s college-readiness mathematics standards, the mathematics coursework taken by our low-achieving high school students may indeed become stronger. But […]