School officials share thoughts on Common Core standards

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

As testimony was heard in Columbus last month on a bill that would repeal the Common Core standards for the state's school districts, several Streetsboro school leaders voiced support for the standards, which emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

School Board member Denise Baba announced during an Aug. 4 meeting the general assembly was taking testimony for and against House Bill 597, which is still under consideration.

"I think that Ohio as a state, in general, is one of the better states to have your student educated in," she said. "But you can always do better. These standards are an attempt to raise the rigor for students because the world is changing, and what was appropriate 20 to 30 years ago is no longer relevant in the world we live in."

Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said repealing Common Core standards would be a waste of resources, effort and time.

"Everything we've been doing for the couple years has been aligning our resources to support the Common Core," he said. "Financially, districts can't afford to throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Daulbaugh said the "Common Core standards is probably one of the best things that's happened in curriculum in years."

The set of standards establishes a common set of standards across states, so when a student moves, teachers in the new district know what information he should have mastered in his old district, said Daulbaugh.

It also emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for college.

"From my perspective, I'm one of those people who oppose any opposition toward the Common Core," he said.

Baba said the Common Core covers math and language arts skills, but not social studies and science.

Common Core is a set of educational standards that state students should be able to exhibit certain skills at a certain point their educations, she added. Curriculum, how the district meets those standards, is still controlled locally.

"Nobody in the federal government is telling us what to teach in our schools," she said.

A closer look

Parent Carmen Laudato said she has mixed feelings about the Common Core standards. At this point, she said it may not make sense to repeal the standards, though.

"I don't see any way of backing out of it now," she said. "I think the only way to go forward is trying to do better on implementation and definitely try to more on the parent education."

Laudato said she believes Common Core standards do encourage higher level thinking, but parents feel confused about the new way of teaching math, particular.

"From a parent perspective, I wasn't trained in Common Core," she said. "Sometimes when they bring this stuff home, I hand it back to them, and say, 'I don't have the slightest clue what to do with this.'"

Laudato said she also worries that students won't be prepared for the SAT and ACT, the dominant college entrance exams that are still based on tradition education where students are trained to "regurgitate" information.

Director of Curriculum Aireane Curtis said the younger students learning Common Core math are asked to break down numbers in addition and subtraction problems into smaller numbers to develop a conceptual understanding of larger numbers in math operations.

For instance, when students understand that the number 327 can be broken down into 300, 20 and 7, "they're starting to see how numbers are formed."

"I know people I graduated with who have no number sense at all because all they used were formulas," said Curtis.

She said when children develop a strong number sense at a young age, advanced math will make more sense to them. For example, they maybe able to make reasonable estimates more easily.

In language arts, she said teachers are pulling more reading from social studies and science topics.

"As adults, most of what we read is informational text" such as directions, news and other items.

In literature, higher order questions are emphasized, she added. For instance, in "Jack and the Beanstalk," teachers might ask whether Jack was a good or bad person. These kinds of critical thinking questions increase in complexity through the grades until students are analyzing literature and nonfiction at nearly a college level in high school.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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  • Doc54,  students who take post secondary courses, have the computers and technology to do it.  So it is a true parallel.  If all the students had computers, you would see more motivated students.

    The ability to teach in today's world, with the technology savey students we have today, technology has become the cornerstone to learning.  Your lack of vision has brought you to your conclusion.

    Gee Doc54, I didn't start college till I was thirty two, went right into Army Intelligence for 6 years, then used my GI Bill to go to college.  Same as you.

    No I don't think the ability to use technology to be a good teacher.  I think technology enhances the abilities of a good teacher.  There is so much more they can present to a student using technology that would otherwise take years without it.  Think about that one.

    I do believe a teachers use and understanding of technology is a huge factor in educators.  Why not trying to ask teachers you know under 40 if they side with you.  I think you will find less than 5% of them side with you.

    No, I don't think you should exceed 35 students in a classroom.  With the way the economy is, it would be considered impractical to purchase hard materials that could easily be delivered through technology at little or no cost.  Again, your way of thinking is costing the community a huge amount is excessive spending that could have been reduced greatly or eliminated through the use of technology.  You would be able to present ideas through the computer that would take students way too long to learn the old conventional way. 

    Maybe you should disappear in your retirement and stop getting involved with things outside your home.  Your stand is holding back the education of the children in our community.  Or is that your desire?

    And you do know of cours that the Common Core is centered around the use of technology right?

    So it appears many of your statements are hypocritical.

    They don't make sense.

    Martin Fleming

  • 1. Yes I fully support common core

    2. Students who take post secondary classes online or otherwise are more highly motivated than the average student so not a true parallel

    3. The ability to teach has little to do with the ability to use technology. The ability to make students think critically is the goal. Technology is a tool that can aid in that but it is not a solution unto itself. Without guidance from a skilled educator it is a distraction not an asset.

    4. Really glad you scored well on the tests, I have no idea what that has to do with this. Like you I did not go to college right out of High School the Air Force was my first oppotunity for education after High School then the GI Bill sent me to college

    5. If you think the ability to use technology is all it takes to be a good teacher then you have a very low opinion of what teaching really means.

    6. I fully support assessing a teacher's ability to teach but I don't believe that their skill level with technology has as big an impact on teaching ability as you seem to believe.

    7. Technology is a tool that can make the transfer and research of information much easier but engaging students getting them interested in the subject and guiding them through the process of learning how to think critically cannot be done by shoving a computer in a students hands and packing 60 or more students into a lecture hall.

    8. Finally yes I have read the US Chamber of commerce article.

     

     

  • I'm sorry that wasn't chemistry but the geology teacher.

    Martin Fleming

  • Doc54,

    Here's some info for you.

    Quote

    "Ohio has had statewide learning standards in mathematics and English Language Arts in the past, but these standards were not rigorous and not aligned with the demands of college and the workplace. The outcome was low academic expectations which resulted in too many students not being college ready, and a short supply of graduates with the basic abilities needed for success in the workplace, including critical thinking and problem solving skills.

    The dismal statistics below underscore to a significant extent the reality of the “quality of education” in Ohio:
    •Just 27% of Ohio fourth graders were proficient in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, compared to 83% who were deemed proficient on the state’s reading exam;
    •31% of Ohio’s 2013 high school graduates who took the ACT exam met none of the college-ready benchmarks;
    •41% of Ohio public high school students entering college must take at least one remedial course in English or math; and,
    •Nationally, more than 1 in 5 high school graduates do not meet the meet the minimum academic standards required for Army enlistment, as measured by the Armed Forces Qualification Test.

    With the intent of reversing those trends of mediocrity (or worse), Ohio passed House Bill 1, which directed the State Board of Education to revise and issue new academic standards in the core subject areas of math, English, science, and  social studies.

    The math and English standards, also known as the Common Core State Standards, were developed collaboratively by state education leaders, governors, teachers, and education experts from 45 states, including Ohio (NOT by the federal government). Then, after 18 public review meetings across the state and presentations to the Education committees of both the Ohio House and Senate, the State Board of Education adopted Ohio’s New Learning Standards on June 2, 2010.

    The process of implementing these new, more challenging learning standards by many Ohio school districts began the following school year and has continued through the 2013-14 academic year. To be clear, these new standards do not mandate, stipulate, or presume to tell Ohio teachers how to teach. Local school districts and teachers remain the decision makers – again, not the federal government – regarding the curriculum, textbooks, and instructional materials that will help students learn best.

    As a statewide business organization representing Ohio employers competing in a highly competitive and global economy, we know that one of their most important concerns is to have qualified, competent, and highly skilled employees. Building a college- and career-ready Ohio starts with higher, yet achievable, standards. The Common Core State Standards do this.

    Turning back the clock – i.e., rejecting or delaying implementation of Ohio’s new learning standards – would only hurt students and disrupt Ohio’s schools, which have been implementing the new standards for the past four years. We need to look no further than Oklahoma to see how rejecting the standards would weaken our ability to ensure that Ohio’s students are prepared to compete with their peers across the country and around the world.

    While we acknowledge that there are many other important steps in preparing Ohio’s students for the future, Ohio’s new learning standards are the foundation for student success, providing the academic baseline to succeed in college, career, and life."

    Unquote

    I found it, do you know where it is from?

    And you think it is unfair to assess teachers and their ability to teach?

    How do you decide if a teacher is performing?

    So, are you in support of Common Core or against it Doc54.

    Martin Fleming

     

  • Let me ask this and see if any one can provide an answer.

    *** the oldest teaching employee as adept at computers and technology as the most recent hired educator?

    I wonder.

    Would they let them be tested outside of the school environment and would they let the public pick which one they would desire to test?

    We should be able to pick any teacher under five years versus any teacher over 25 years.

    Martin Fleming

  • Yeah Doc54, I know how the system works.  I didn't get to go to college right out of high school but when I did go, I grade very high on just about every test.  All the way to the point that they said they would no longer consider my scores in the grading curve.  No students were achieving my scores so they felt it was unfair to the rest.

    You're absolutely right, college professors don't care.

    What do you think we should do to insure teachers are performing and how do we make that judgment?

    Can you give us an idea of how you would do it?

    Martin Fleming

  • Doc54,

    That's funny. That's how they teach the students now.  Chemistry teacher that says "And this is the mixture blah, blah, blah, blah"  Don't believe me, start asking some of the students in high school chemistry.  Much of what our students do is self taught. 

    There is a parallel.  Students can even take college courses on-line. 

    Teachers in public school are employed there.   Last I check there are very few full time professors.  Some transfer from Kent, Akron and Cleveland.  Different world in terms of educators but students are students.

    When your a full time employee you should be evaluated for performance.  However, if your tools at home are different and those at school are antiquated, then you will lose the desire to learn from many of the students.  Traditional methods do not apply to today's student and the college classroom has arrived and we need to do more to get our students up to date.  Garrettsville did it.  Had someone apply for a grant that outfitted every student in their high school.

    And where are we.

    Just imagine not being able to evaluate a teacher.  How much longer are we going to blame the parents?  Very few college professors care and unfortunately, it may be the same in the local school system. 

    Martin Fleming

  • So you are really going to attempt to create a comparison between colleges where the professors are not graded by the State, the kids or parents are paying thousands of dollars to attend, there are no standardized tests, graduation rates mean nothing, graduation requirements are decided locally, and the institution faces no repercussions from poor performance and compare that to public schools where teachers are evaluated by the performance of their students, funding from the state is contingent on test scores and attendance rates, graduation rates, test scores, and the students are forced to attend or be found truant and penalized by the legal system.

    Sorry I don't see the paralell, and I can tell you that unlike my public school teachers most of my college professors did not care one way or the other if I succeeded or failed. They were there to present information if you wanted it learning it was your responsibility.

  • Sure you do.

    If you don't think so, then you better start protesting colleges for the size of their classes.

    Martin Fleming

  • I disagree with you whizzard, I think everyone involved with any kind of quality education program has believed for decades that there needed to be a baseline level of learning. Unfortunately getting the majority to agree on anything like this is difficult. I also disagree with you that the answer to achieving common core success is putting a computer into the hands of every student. Without quality teaching a computer is nothing more than an entertainment device. Quality instruction by teachers who are intuitive enough to recognize the individual needs of students and give them the attention they need is what will really make our students successful and you don't achieve that by putting large numbers of students in a classroom.

     

  • Funny how it took ten years for Baba to say the same thing that I did.  I knew then what they are just realizing now.  That bothers me for the thngs I see today in where they are putting the high school is going to surface 10 years from now when it is too late.

    The only way they will be able to insure Common Core to be a success would be to get an individual computer into every students hands.  Shift the millage in the apportioned levy and lets get moving on getting students computers.

    I support Common Core for I found out what it really was and it was about time someone did step in and start forcing our education system to start teaching our children.  I want to see our nation as number one in education.  Currently our nation doesn't even fall in the top 20.  Now that's a major concern to me.

    Martin Fleming