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Soothing sentiments on Norwalk Common Core transition scrutinized by skeptics

Norwalk Public Schools Math Specialist Craig Creller, head of the Norwalk Common Core Transition Team, answers questions Thursday at the Norwalk Public Library.

NORWALK, Conn. – Board of Education personnel repeated the same message over and over again Thursday night: Norwalk school children are exceeding their expectations in the transition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

This was repeated in answer to tough questions from some of the more than 100 parents attending a forum about CCSS held at the Norwalk Public Library and hosted by the Norwalk Education Foundation, parents who were in a no-nonsense, skeptical mood.

“Is there any data to say this will work?” Thomas Mahoney asked, after listening to an hour-long PowerPoint presentation about the transition from Norwalk educators, who expressed satisfaction at the nearly full library auditorium.

Mahoney referred to news stories that report a backlash against Common Core, concerns about its costs and negative reactions to tests.

“Why are so many states pulling out?” he asked. “That is why, I think, there’s a crowd here. … Is this going to work for my kid?”

District Math Specialist Craig Creller, head of the Norwalk Common Core Transition Team, said that no states have pulled out, that the news reports are exaggerated. Common Core was voluntarily adopted by 46 states because children in Tennessee should have the same opportunities as those in Massachusetts, he said, adding a patriotic note: “This is the United States of America. … We want high standards for all students.”

Norwalk has already been using CCSS in mathematics for two years and that has provided two years’ worth of data for some students, he said.

“Our students are far exceeding our expectations in mathematics,” he said, emphasizing that kindergarten students, who are fully immersed in Common Core for mathematics, are doing very well.

A woman who said she assists in a kindergarten classroom echoed the sentiment.

“There are kindergarten kids that I didn’t think could do it,” she said. “They have been able to add when I didn’t think they could, and their reading is phenomenal, too.”

A mother of a kindergarten student said she keeps thinking her daughter isn’t doing it right but the child has it down.

“She is really learning,” she said.

Some parents objected to the use of standards. Deputy Superintendent Tony Daddona said standards aren’t new.

“We have always based our curriculum on standards,” he said. “The standards have changed somewhat but not drastically.”

One mother questioned why the students weren’t being tested for two years as the Connecticut standardized testing has been phased out, but the Common Core Standards will not be phased in until next year.

“We’re still doing our own benchmarks assessment standards,” Daddona said, meaning, the children are taking Norwalk-centric tests.

Middle School English/Language Arts Department Head Tritty Kelly said parents could go online to the new parent portal and see their child’s test scores. Many of the parents hadn’t heard of the parent portal. School officials promised to put the link up on the BoE’s website.

Ponus Ridge Middle School teacher Joe Giandurco said he and other teachers have questions, too. Tests begin April 1, according to Creller, but Giandurco said the wireless installations aren’t done yet and teachers don’t know what tools the children will be using. There will only be about a month for practice once the technology is in, he said.

“Its a huge concern for all middle school and probably all teachers,” he said.

District Testing Specialist Diane Filardo said there will be one test for all middle school students, that the children are learning to use the tools very quickly.

Chief of Technology, Innovation and Partnerships Ralph Valenzisi had said that 2,000 Chromebooks are being deployed throughout the district with an eye toward making sure that each school had the same ratio of students to new computers. But Giandurco said that there aren’t going to be enough Chromebooks to go around, meaning there will be children who won’t be involved in the testing, who will be in the hallways making noise.

Filardo said there are committees at every school studying the issue. Children can rotate through computer labs, and those not testing can have a double period of working on other things.

“There are creative ways and every school is looking into it,” she said.

Board of Education member Mike Barbis, who attended the event along with BOE Chairman Mike Lyons, handed his card to Mahoney, the man who talked of national news reports.

Mahoney said he thought Creller’s answer to be “incomplete.”

“I think they’re describing a Disneyland of Education,” he said. “What is happening in the classroom is not the same as what they are describing.”

Comments

44 responses to “Soothing sentiments on Norwalk Common Core transition scrutinized by skeptics”

  1. 2+2=5

    Where was Manny? I guess these trivial operational details are beneath him.
    .
    The math guy talked a good game, but I find it very disturbing that there are no stated goals. It seems more of an approach of making it up as they go along, ala obamacare.
    .
    I was expecting to hear something more like…”by the 12th grade we expect 80% of children to have taken pre Calculus”. There was absolutely zero content in this regard and all they talked about was the test all while saying they weren’t teaching to the test.
    .
    God help our children. Hopefully someone with a clue and say so will realize they aren’t lab rats.

  2. anon

    Dodonna was there, isn’t he in charge of curriculum?

  3. mikebarbis

    Unfortunately, Manny Rivera had to attend a mandatory class for his Superintendent certification. I don’t know who 2+2=5 is(another anonymous poster who has no spine) but your comment is unwarranted.

  4. 2+2=5

    Convenient. I guess no other night could possibly have worked out. Having it at the library where there is no parking was also a good move at keeping the crowd down. Since of course, there are no auditoriums anywhere in the city with ample parking lots that could have sufficed.
    .
    This is a good example of ‘mushroom management’. Throw a lot of (manure) on them and keep them in the dark.

    (Edited to conform to our policy)

  5. dawn

    the evening was offered by the library. Hence the location. The Librarians offered the program in response to the questions they have been getting and are unable to answer.
    .
    There is plenty of parking at the library. The lots nextto the library are all available after 5.
    .
    Hopefully they listen to what we said last night and provide a lot more informational sessions for the families.
    .
    i will be lookig for the informational sessions at Brookside.
    .
    i hope they know what they are doing. i do not like the idea od my kids being the experiment. but i guess it has to be someone. i myself know that very soon i will not be able to keep up with the math.
    .

  6. 2+2=5

    Kudos to the library.
    .
    Left on their own, it is clear NPS has no effective communication plan nor any real intent to deliver clear, coherent information. Just trust them. They know better for our children than we do.
    .
    The BOE member confuses a lack of spine for a concerned parent who feels their criticisms of anything this sacred cow does could result in retribution. He should show a little more respect for the stakeholders here.

  7. NPS Parent

    I find it ‘interesting’ that the only way I heard of this meeting was thru another online newspaper.
    Not thru my school’s eblasts
    Not thru my PTO
    Not thru a robocall
    Thank you to the library!!

    Now can the BOE sponsor some forums?

    Kudos to Ms. Jones and Ms.Kelly. You were the only authentic informative speakers there.

    Editor’s note: FYI, we also ran an advance story about the event:
    https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/01/norwalk-education-foundation-gets-5k-grant-from-bjs-common-core-forum-set-for-thursday/

  8. Lisa Thomson

    It’s unfortunate that politicians at state and federal levels are using the 2014 election to pander and scare voters and parents with respect to the deployment of international common core standards.

    Bottom line, the U.S. has been dumbing down its reading standards since the ‘whole language’ debacle introduced in the 1980s. There’s a huge generational divide between those educated in the standards of the 60s and 70s versus what transpired after 1980.

    Non-fiction disappeared, grammar, vocabulary, spelling along with analytical thinking. Fiction rose and ‘how do you feel about that type questions’ replaced content, comprehension and knowledge. In writing, 2011 NAEP tests revealed three quarters of American kids still couldn’t write properly, even when left with a myriad of word processing tools, thesaurus, etc. ‘Writing labs’ have sprung up all over college campuses to deal with the poor skills of kids coming out of public schools. I am less familiar with math, aside from seeing at the elementary level, prior to the introduction of common core, the content was a mile wide and an inch deep. Now there is concentration.

    The panic and bad press coming out now, after years of preparing for this international standards shift, comes from educators, nervous about the change in standards (justifiably so) and the need for more Professional Development (especially if they, themselves were the products of a post 1980 public k-12 education.) You also have the leafy suburbs nervous about their test scores going down and how it might affect their property values? Admittedly, I worry about implementation of the changes, but not about the necessity to do it.

    Arnie Duncan stirred the pot last year, when he suggested that leafy suburbs moms were going to find out that their kid might not be as bright as they thought. But to naively compare the academic performance of suburban kids versus city schools just isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time to start comparing every kid’s academic performance in America to China, Germany, Japan, Singapore, India, etc. After all, that is who American kids are now competing with for college spots and future jobs.

    Thank you NEF, and NPL and NPS for organizing this event. Most likely, you will need to do more.

  9. MarjorieM

    Lisa Thomson, there you go again. You are so completely incorrect in your statements about literacy instruction in Norwalk that I don’t even know where to start correcting you. Norwalk was on the cutting edge of literacy instruction in the 90s with Reading Recovery Specialists. These were literacy specialists who were trained on the graduate level on the research and writings of Marie Clay. As a result of the success of this program, Literacy Specialists were hired for each school and were trained by the State Department of Education. Norwalk was a model for the State. As for your comment about no non-fiction in the classroom? WRONG! WRONG, WRONG! Thousands of dollars worth of non-fiction texts were ordered because the CMTs were based on non-fiction. Vendors such as the Wright Group and the Rigby Company received much of our business. Test scores started to rise. Spelling and grammar was also a part of the curriculum. Vocabulary was as well. I give up! There is too much to refute in your diatribe against the Norwalk Public Schools. For some reason unknown to anyone, you seem to want everyone to think teachers in Norwalk didn’t know what they were doing before you and the Apples came along. I suppose if you lie enough and consistently, some people will believe you.

  10. longtime resident

    So many possibilities for comment ….

    First, fliers advertising the event were distributed to every elementary school student. I cannot speak to the middle and high schools, but would imagine that they got them as well.

    Second, nonfiction instruction hasn’t disappeared from our classrooms. Schools eligible for Title I funding have been able to purchase this type of reading material. But the others, getting by with $74 annual per pupil expenditure that has to cover everything from copy paper to crayons, glue and professional development, are not so fortunate.

    And then on the other hand, state mandated DRA testing three times annually in kindergarten through grade three had a strong fiction and retelling focus. This was used to mark progress for report cards, determine summer school mandates, and track growth, so teachers naturally spent a large proportion of time working on those goals. Don’t blame NPS for that.

    Third, throughout it all here has been virtually no leadership from central office. Budget problems only compounded this: Reading Recovery was eliminated, literacy teachers’ jobs changed, reduced to .5 per building (regardless of whether a school had 300 or 600 students) as then they were gone as well.

    Schools and teachers have been left to work this out on their own, and some are doing an exemplary job under more than challenging conditions. Ms. Thompson, look at the data and see what’s working in NPS. There are places with amazing results, so your negative blanket condemnations are uncalled for.

  11. MarjorieM

    Thank you, Longtime Resident for supporting THE FACTS. It is refreshing to hear the truth for a change. It is time for Norwalk teacher bashing to stop. Lisa Thomson needs to stop frivolously denigrating Norwalk teachers. She does not have the expertise, the background knowledge, nor the wisdom to keep out of what she doesn’t understand.

  12. David

    I don’t normally agree with Lisa but to be fair, I didn’t see a whole lot of ‘denigration’ in her comments. The broad strokes she painted are correct – American standards are good enough, especially in a global world. Oh, and if you think we’re global now, just take a peek at what’s coming down the technology world. Our current students will, literally, compete for the best jobs against the worlds students, not their own. The losers get economic crumbs.
    .
    Common core defines standards and the standards are going up. That’s good for our students, and ultimately, our country.

  13. anonymous

    @majoriem, Norwalk was on the cutting edge of literacy instruction in the 1990’s and a model for the State of Connecticut, really?

    Connecticut has the highest achievement gap in reading in the nation and has had that embarrassing distinction for years. And Norwalk isn’t doing much better.

    Will you take credit for that also?

    Thomason makes good points RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT.

  14. 2+2=5

    If you can’t do basic math, read, or write…all the tech in the world won’t help you.
    .
    The smart kids will figure out how to bypass the controls and have a lot of fun at taxpayer expense.
    .
    Chromebook hacking sites like this one are a dime a dozen.
    ,
    http://www.thechromesource.com/tag/hacking-chromebooks/

  15. MarjorieM

    @ Almost everyone above….I did not say that there wasn’t room for improvement. Of course there is. I am not convinced that the Common Core is it, however. Let us not forget Johnson’s War on Poverty. what did that get us? The largest federal entitlement grants to districts with high poverty, aka Title 1. Show me what good that has done! Then came No Child Left Behind, Seems like that didn’t work either. The State has poured money into Priority School grants. Has that shown any progress in Connecticut? Now we have Common Core curriculum. Sorry, I don’t care what it is labeled, I will believe in a “program” when it is worthy of my belief. As for Lisa Thomson, she is spewing forth lies about what Norwalk did or didn’t do without any background to substantiate her claims. THAT is my beef with Lisa. If you guys want to be gullible and believe anything she says, be my guest.

  16. MarjorieM

    An example of why I think Lisa Thomson is an inappropriate person to lead the discussion on literacy….
    “Non-fiction disappeared, grammar, vocabulary, spelling along with analytical thinking. Fiction rose and ‘how do you feel about that type questions’ replaced content, comprehension and knowledge”

    Here Lisa demonstrates her lack of knowledge on higher level thinking skills. Knowledge is on the bottom rung of HOTS. What we look for in students is APPLICATION. ” How do you feel about….” Is application. While it is not one of the better questions she could have used, it is a thinking skill we need to have our students practice. I’ve already debunked the myth of non-fiction disappearing from the classroom and other myths she perpetuates. Pointing out the flaws in this woman’s comments is becoming a full time job!

  17. anonymous

    @Majoriem, longtime resident, the truth hurts, don’t shoot the messenger.

    Why is it that public school educators think they’re only people ‘professional’ enough to speak about education? Especially given their years and years of uninspired results? They don’t want to be blamed, evaluated, judged, or second-guessed, want to hold on to their monopoly, fight choice and market dynamics and complain about not being respected.

    @Davids correct, standards going up, that’s good for America.

  18. Jlightfield

    There is a delightful irony in knowing that the educational angst typed by so many occurs on devices that were created by drop-outs who valued creativity over being measured by the education reform movement of their day. Mass produced, homogenized curriculum is the last vestige of the generation obsessed with mass consumption. It too will pass, and what will emerge is another Age of Enlightenment as young adults emerge from their car seats and rebel against the cocoon of over parenting that has bought into the assembly line of education. The people who put Man on the moon did it without ever taking a standardized test, used slide rules to calculate stuff, and sent their kids to school without a thought about what curriculum was in place. We haven’t been back to the moon since standardized tests came about. Ponder that all you non-fiction reading advocates. Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon might be more inspirational than the whole lot of propulsion theory texts.

  19. anon

    @jlightfield, doubly ironic. There is a delightful irony in knowing that the educational angst typed by so many occurs on devices that were created by drop-outs who valued creativity over being measured….. Yes, that is correct.

    @jlightfield One of those creative types, Bill Gates and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent billions in education reform and is a force behind the new Common Core standards. Steve Jobs, another creative device-inventing drop out, said that to fix public education, get rid of the unions.

  20. MarjorieM

    @anonymous, Question for you……What makes our leading researchers and doctors the only ones “professional” enough to speak about Cancer and the best treatments available, given Cancer has not yet been cured? The answer is education, experience in the field and keeping up with research. Or do you think you send your children to school with educated babysitters who could be replaced with anyone off the streets? It is precisely that sort of statement that is the exemplification of the attack on teachers.

    The Lisa Thomson followers are simply trying to propagandize their myths. Hopefully readers of this blog will do their own research and discover the facts for themselves. My facts are there. Yours are not.

  21. anonymous

    Researchers say that 95% of all people can learn to read. Nationally, we’re about 1/2 way there.

    If 95% of all cancers could be cured but the success rate was only 45%, we’d all rightfully be asking the opinion of other professionals, or find new doctors.

    Keeping up with the flaws in your comments is becoming tiresome. My facts are there. Yours are not.

  22. MarjorieM

    Anonymous, I noticed that you did not state your source for this percentage of people who can learn to read. You also did not divulge at what level these people read and at what age some of them were considered “readers.” – “Figures lie and liars figure!”

    100% of our students read! (But I never said at what level)……..Guess we are better than the national average! That’s a fact!

  23. MarjorieM

    Guess I got my answer.

  24. Enough testing

    Did they share information about parents having the right to say no to more lost classroom time? I suggest parents ‘opt-out’ and take their kids to a museum instead of putting them through more unnecessary testing!

  25. anonymous

    marjoiem, hope is you’re not an educator and just a union hack.

    Homework if you care to stay informed

    Nations Report Card at http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/state-performance

    State of Connecticut http://www.cga.ct.gov/coc/PDFs/reading/060106_all_children_reading.pdf
    “Brain research informs us that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students”

    If 95% of all cancers could be cured but the success rate was only 45%, we’d all rightfully be asking the opinion of other professionals, or find new doctors.

  26. MarjorieM

    THE REST OF THE QUOTE……” Brain research informs us that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students. Yet 10 to 40 percent of them will have difficulty learning to read and will need specialized instruction.
    More than one-third of poor children enter formal kindergarten classes already behind their peers. By fourth grade, more than 50 percent of these children will not meet the standard for reading proficiency.
    Experts agree that language and literacy development play an important role in general child development and a specific role in learning to learn. The relationship between language and literacy begins in the preschool years and evolves toward increasing refinement and specificity through the elementary and middle grade years.”

    Thank you for making my argument that it is all about vocabulary from birth to formal schooling years. Unless you want to pay more so that kids in poverty can experience vocabulary development as our wealthy neighbors do, then understand that we have a significant amount of students who are verbally not fluent. We have English Language Learners, Special Education students and students who were born in this country but have extremely limited vocabularies. Our teachers are working extremely hard to overcome these obstacles presented to them.
    SHAME ON YOU FOR QUOTING ONLY THE FIRST LINE! You are a spinner!

  27. anonymous

    @majoriem, You’re big on the shame word. No shame in getting paid for a job that you’ve just told all readers you don’t think public school teachers can do without a seismic change in societal reality.

    If you can’t do the job, stop the roadblocks for charter, magnet, voucher, choices, job rules and so on. It’s a shame not to do so. If it’s really ‘for the kids’, move out of the way.

    If 95% of all cancers could be cured but the success rate was only 45%, we’d all rightfully be asking the opinion of other professionals, or find new doctors.

  28. MarjorieM

    Anonymous, your comprehension levels aren’t even on fourth grade level. Read the full quote again. If you need further interpretation, don’t hesitate to ask. Public School teachers?????

  29. Suzanne

    “Six in ten (62 percent) of Connecticut
    fourth-graders are not proficient in reading.
    (2005 National Assessment of Education
    Progress)

    Connecticut has some of the largest
    achievement gaps in the nation: 11 percent
    of the state’s black eighth-graders and 13
    percent of Hispanic eighth-graders met the
    reading proficiency standard, compared to
    42 percent of white students. (2005 National
    Assessment of Education Progress)”

    This is in the second column of the link quoted above by marjoriem and anonymous. While nine years old, there is no indication that any of the remediation in literacy at the State level is really working despite CMT for lower grade scores to the contrary.

    It is very sad when a true cause, the education of children, becomes a political bouncing ball and personal instead of a full tilt concentration on solving the matter that concerns the health and welfare of kids now and in the long term. Refuting one another’s perceptions of what is going on in the classroom does ZERO to help children achieve what they need. Working on a plan and enacting it to help individual or collective achievement with the focus completely on the outcome FOR THE KIDS is far more productive and truly what is needed.

  30. MarjorieM

    Suzanne, another who spins. Yes, the results of which you speak were from 2005. No current evidence that what is currently happening is improving test scores? I can give you a quote from right here, on NON, from Manny Rivera!

    “The results show Norwalk performed well among the state’s eight largest cities — cities population 70,000 and up — posting the highest or second-highest scores (sometimes by a 10th of a percentage point) in all but two of the 22 categories in the CMT and CAPT combined, both in scoring at or above goal in in percentage of students at proficiency or above. Among the cities, Norwalk posted 12 firsts, eight seconds and two thirds in both metrics.
    The eight largest cities are Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury and New Britain.
    In a Wednesday press release, Rivera said students were at state level or better in some grades and disciplines.
    Figures show, however, that Norwalk, while posting some better-than-statewide gains, still scored below state averages in most areas.
    According to the release, state CAPT results were “generally positive,” while CMT results were down. But, Rivera noted, results were a marked improvement over the baseline year of 2006.” The quote continues to state that the reason scores went down were a direct result of the switch to core knowledge.

    We are improving, unless you don’t want to believe the new superintendent. If you want instant results honey, THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES!

  31. @JL
    “There is a delightful irony in knowing that the educational angst typed by so many occurs on devices that were created by drop-outs who valued creativity over being measured by the education reform movement of their day. ”
    Those guys were in COLLEGE when they dropped out – obviously however they were taught in the earlier years had a remarkable impact on their thought process, critical and creative thinkinkg.
    *
    The kids today lack all of this.

  32. Suzanne

    MarjorieM, you missed the point completely. That is, in your effort to prove me wrong, of “spinning”, you take the subject off the kids and onto you. I never said I wanted “quick fixes” and, if you had read my letter, you would not see any reference to this. Your inaccuracies point to you and you only: pity. It seems like you could really be of assistance in your writing if, instead of everything being about you being right, it was about the results obtained and the efforts being made to help the children of Norwalk.

  33. MarjorieM

    Suzanne, my comment mostly quotes Manny Rivera and the fact that our kids are improving academically. It was in direct response to you, ” While nine years old, there is no indication that any of the remediation in literacy at the State level is really working despite CMT for lower grade scores to the contrary.” Literacy instruction IS improving and one indication is the elementary scores on the CMT. How is that about me? I think YOU missed the point.

  34. Suzanne

    http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/schools_-_general/statewide-test-scores-drop-with-increases-not-expected-for-the/article_46f8ba0d-fe89-52ae-8cd5-71ac98eb9829.html

    Article in The Hour from August 2013

    In Norwalk, 42.4 percent met goal in math, up from 32.5 in 2012; 35.5 percent met goal in science, up from 32.4 in 2012; 36.7 percent met goal in reading, down from 36.8 in 2012; and 52.7 met goal in writing, up from 52.5 in 2012. Compared to the baseline year of 2007, student performance increased in all content areas.

    http://www.norwalkcitizenonline.com/news/article/Test-scores-drop-statewide-4732004.php

    I understand what you are referencing regarding elementary scores improving in literacy. However, that does not paint the entire picture. When it is considered a “triumph” to have something below 50% competency in any subject in our schools, I think we are doing a disservice to students who, one would think, would need much greater competency than “below average” to compete with the global economy. I feel, somehow, that the older students, that is, students older than elementary level, have already been lost, Manny Rivera’s comments notwithstanding. That is just my concern which I believe is shared by many. I have no interest in your derogation and will end correspondence with you from now on. You like to argue way too much to be really effective in any forum where constructive conversation is preferred.

  35. MarjorieM

    Quoted from your own source, “Student scores for the CMTs, as well as the Connecticut Academic Performance Tests given to high school sophomores, fall into five categories, including proficient, which counts when determining if the schools are meeting the demands of No Child Left Behind Act, and goal, which is considered challenging but is the state target.”
    MY POINT: You choose to quote percentages that reflect state target, which is considered challenging. Proficient reflects No Child Left Behind demands. Do you know the difference?

    In Norwalk, 61.7 percent of third graders met the goal in math, down from 70.1 in 2012, and 51.4 percent met goal in reading, down from 57.9 in 2012. By eighth grade, 63.8 percent of students in Norwalk met the goal in math and 73.8 had met the reading goal. In both cases, the percentages were higher than they had been in 2012 and the same occurred in writing and science. In most cases however, Norwalk’s CMT data demonstrates a marked improvement over the baseline year of 2006. The one exception was sixth grade writing where 55.2 percent met goal in 2013, down from 55.6 in 2006.

    There was a big leap in improvement in seventh grade reading–56.5 percent met goal in 2006 while 81.5 met goal in 2013.”
    MY POINT: Norwalk is making marked improvement! My point exactly.

    Actually, I prefer to discuss test results with someone who doesn’t spin the truth. I prefer to discuss how Norwalk is IMPROVING! Why choose the negative side of the argument?

  36. anonymous

    If 95% of all cancers could be cured but the success rate was only 45%, we’d all rightfully be asking the opinion of other professionals, or find new doctors.

    “Brain research informs us that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students”

    State of Connecticut http://www.cga.ct.gov/coc/PDFs/reading/060106_all_children_reading.pdf

    Nations Report Card at http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/state-performance

  37. Suzanne

    Actually the source came from “Spanner” above and YOU commented on it. But, thanks for sticking with at least some of, but not all, of the data (there are articles that refute the improvements cited that I did post.) The “truth” is malleable in this context depending upon what source you read, none seeming to report all of the picture, just some of it. I guess what you would call spin. I am happy for the improvements that exist at certain levels and very concerned where there is a marked drop off. One can have MIXED feelings about given data sources without being partial to any particular “side”.

  38. jlightfield

    @irishgirl, when the argument for improving education reform is based on the goal of attaining a college education, it is pertinent to point out that a college education track didn’t yield the skills needed to revolutionize the world.
    .
    The kids today have the greatest opportunity to learn anything they want than at any other point in history. Right now they are seeing that the same people who have been content to ignorantly keep the 12 blinking on their VCRs are now trying to reform education around testing and score keeping because how else can you keep up with the “joneses” unless you rank, rate, and measure? The kids are seeing through the hypocrisy and will be just fine. They will pick up the skills and education they need despite whatever reform is inflicted upon them like the generations before them have managed to do.
    .
    Pluto, is it a disney dog, planet, greek god, rock band or something else? Depending on your age, the “correct” answer to that question changed.
    .
    “We know what we are, but not what we may be.” Hamlet Act IV, Scene 5

  39. MarjorieM

    Anonymous, I repeat, since you apparently did not understand the first time around…

    THE REST OF THE QUOTE……” Brain research informs us that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students. Yet 10 to 40 percent of them will have difficulty learning to read and will need specialized instruction.
    More than one-third of poor children enter formal kindergarten classes already behind their peers. By fourth grade, more than 50 percent of these children will not meet the standard for reading proficiency.
    Experts agree that language and literacy development play an important role in general child development and a specific role in learning to learn. The relationship between language and literacy begins in the preschool years and evolves toward increasing refinement and specificity through the elementary and middle grade years.”

  40. anonymous

    @adnausueum marjoriem, it is you who appears to not understand much beyond excuses for public school failures. ‘Specialized instruction’ does not imply the impossible, but rather points to what is needed for success, instructional competence.

    If 95% of all cancers could be cured but the success rate was only 45%, we’d all rightfully be asking the opinion of other professionals, or find new doctors.

    “Brain research informs us that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students”

    State of Connecticut http://www.cga.ct.gov/coc/PDFs/reading/060106_all_children_reading.pdf

    Nations Report Card at http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/state-performance

  41. MarjorieM

    Well, that’s an example of the pot calling the kettle black! You have repeated the same statements three times…..LOL

  42. Piberman

    With 14 separate comments Marjorie sets a new NON record for thoughtful insights. Imagine if Marjorie was elected to our BOE. Straightening out the mere mortals and education professionals. It’s the American dream -someone who really. “Understands” the public education mess. Top pay for disappointing results. We need more thoughtful educators. Who have both the solution and answer. More monies !

  43. MarjorieM

    Berman, I should have known you would appear here. Another “pot.” Should I count your opinion pieces here on NON? LOL

  44. Dawn

    I have more practical concerns. Security of the computers. How often will they need to be updated. The money spent today is only a drop in the bucket. I also do not want to get away from books. I think there is a difference. Holding a book that you can turn pages is deferent thank a computer. I am also confused. Kids will be able to use the tools of the computer during testing. How does that test knowledge.
    .
    I think people need to get away from do we way it or not. It’s ours. They are not turning back now. Now we need to learn about the details. Let’s be. Constructive now.
    .
    Please let’s not create a budget boondoggle in technology upkeep and theft prevention.

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