This book closely looks at the educational system in Poland, South Korea, and Finland and compares them. Amanda Ripley makes the argument that the key...moreThis book closely looks at the educational system in Poland, South Korea, and Finland and compares them. Amanda Ripley makes the argument that the key to high test scores in math and critical thinking are the following:
**Teacher Education: Highly trained teachers in the classroom with more selective teacher training programs. **Local control for schools: Freedom for schools and teachers to choose curriculum and use their expertise to teach content. **A high-stakes test at the end of high school: Students need a rigorous test at their graduation that matters. A test that determines their future and a test that drives instruction with high student expectations. **Less focus on sports and technology: The smartest kids in the world do not play sports and they do not have fancy gadgets in the class. They learn more than American teens because they work harder and take education more seriously.
Overall, I found this book both enlightening and disturbing. It definitely makes me look more critically at my own teaching and that is always a good thing even if it hurts a little. (less)
A dense book packed full of information. This book explains what the Common Core is, how it was developed, and how it is different from most state sta...moreA dense book packed full of information. This book explains what the Common Core is, how it was developed, and how it is different from most state standards. It does not have practical applications. You'll need another book to learn how to implement Common Core in the classroom. This is really a break down of each standard. Very informative, but not a quick read. That is for sure.
45 states have adopted Common Core initiatives. Texas, Virginia, Minnesota (only adopted ELA), Nebraska, and Alaska are the only states that have not. Of course if you look at Texas' state test and standards, it definitely looks like Common Core even if they don't want to call it that.
Basically Common Core standards are based on preparing every student for college work. The Reading portion of Common Core is not all that different from the standards that Texas has had for the past 10 years. With the exception of requiring the use of more nonfiction texts and the utter lack of poetry! That was disappointing.
The major difference is the writing portion. In other words, the personal narrative that has been driving writing programs across the country now must bite the dust. Informational, Analytical, and a strong emphasis on Persuasive writing will now be the ELA writing focus. The argument behind this switch is that students will not only use this type of writing more often in college, but also in work. No one really cares about your life story or your life experiences unless you are using it to make an argument for something, of course.
I agree that this type of writing is definitely more useful, but Common Core creators have forgotten the reason why education turned toward the personal narrative--to allow students to write about something they know, themselves. This is especially useful when you work with immigrants, like myself. When I look at the STAAR, the new Texas standardized test that has replaced the TAKS test, I worry that students who don't plan on going to college will now lose the opportunity to graduate from high school. For immigrants, Common Core definitely makes the gap wider. (less)