Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The Common Core State Standards have been released today.

What do you think?


Beth said...


If MA doesn't adopt the new standards, they aren't good enough for ME. It will be interesting to see what they decide.

I do feel that the standards have a lot more clarity. Also, I'm happy that they specify the standard algorithms for mathematics. I'm happy with the requirements for proof in Geometry.

I am concerned that many have refused to sign off on the standards, which makes me think that they have room for improvement:

Prof Jim Milgram's comments:

“They aren’t terrific,” said R. James Milgram, one of a handful of the
nearly 30 members of the core-standards validation committee who refused
to sign off on the document. “What they are is far better than the vast
majority of standards in this country,” Mr. Milgram, a professor emeritus
of mathematics at Stanford University, said in an interview yesterday.
“But they do not match up well with international expectations, and they
are not quite as good as the best of the state standards, in California,
Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Indiana.”

I think that it would have been a lot easier for Maine to adopt the MA standards years ago!

Beth said...

See the following excerpt from (in reference to MA adopting the Common Core Standards)

"Well, Massachusetts' second round Race to the Top application has been submitted to the feds. I just looked at the home page for the MA Department of (Elementary and Secondary) Education and, at least as far as I can see there will be no public comment period on the question of whether the state adopts the Common Core's standards.

With the date set by the Commissioner for the Board to adopt the proposed national standards (July 21, 9 am, Malden), there really isn't room for a public comment period, which usually takes 60 days. Originally, because the Commissioner's plan called for a special Board of Education meeting on August 2nd (60 days after the June 1 application submission date), we hoped they would allow a comment period. Nope. Nada.

So, we are taking one of the most important steps in education policy without any real vetting"


Also, see this comment from a blog reader.."In fact, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an architect of Massachusetts' state curriculum frameworks and a Board member, conducted analyses of drafts of these national standards showing they were far weaker than ours. Is it a mere coincidence that her term expires on June 30th, while the Board will not vote on adopting the national standards until July 21st?"

This is a big step for Maine. Let's make sure that the standards are at least as good as Massachusetts CURRENT standards.

Beth said...

MCAS advocates weary of Patrick's tack on test

By Kyle Cheney/Statehouse News Service
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jun 16, 2010 @ 05:28 PM
Gov. Deval Patrick’s insistence that he is not “walking away” from the state’s hallmark MCAS exam had some backers of the exam scratching their heads Tuesday.
Officials at the Pioneer Institute, a right-leaning public policy group, say the governor’s statement, made during a Tuesday morning gubernatorial debate, runs counter to the state’s application for a round of federal education grants.
In the application, state officials described a scenario in which the state could adopt a set of national standards, scrapping the MCAS.
“Massachusetts is well poised to play a substantial role in the development of a new common college and career readiness assessment system based on common standards in English language arts and mathematics,” Massachusetts education officials wrote in the application. “In four years we will be prepared to administer this assessment in place of our current state assessments in those subjects.”
But Patrick administration education officials dismissed the concerns, saying there’s no conflict between the application and administration officials’ insistence that MCAS won’t be abandoned.
“People are trying to portray this as a done deal, and we’re saying this is not by any means a done deal,” said Jonathan Palumbo, spokesman for the Executive Office of Education. “A lot more options are on the table than, I think, some people are letting on.”
Palumbo noted that the application makes clear that national standards would need to be approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and only then after a review is completed comparing the national standards to the state’s current standards and highlighting any areas that could weaken what Massachusetts already has in place.
Patrick on Wednesday said, “I’m very proud of our standards. If the national standards are at least as ambitious as ours, then I would support them.” He added that he favors adding a civics component to the MCAS regimen.
Patrick’s Republican opponent Charles Baker said “chatter” about a potential move away from MCAS frightened him.
“I’m scared to death, frankly, for the kids of Massachusetts when I hear chatter and talk coming from the board of education, the secretary of education and the governor’s office that we may change the way we do this and stop being the national leader,” he said during the debate.
Massachusetts lost out on an initial round of so-called federal Race to the Top funds in April, in part, federal officials concluded, because the state was resistant to adopting national standards.
Administration officials at the time said they wanted to ensure that adopting national standards wouldn’t represent a weakening of state standards at a time when Massachusetts students regularly attain among the highest test scores in the country.
In a June 1 letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry joined the state’s 10-member U.S. House delegation to urge the Obama administration not to penalize Massachusetts for having more rigorous standards that the national proposal.
“In the absence of language clearly stating that these national standards would be equal to or higher than what Massachusetts has set for itself, the Commonwealth is unfortunately forced to decline accepting these standards,” the delegation wrote.”
Palumbo noted that New Jersey on Tuesday became the 10th state to adopt national standards. A public comment period on the national standards, he said, has begun and will be open through a July 22 board meeting.

Beth said...

Here is a comment from NJ regarding the Math Standards:

Bottom line: The Common Core are better than NJ's current Math standards, but they are not world class at all. (Example: You would think kids need to know the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction by 3rd grade, but the Common Core says 4th. Multiplication and division are at 6th grade.)

See link below for more info:

Beth said...

Recent article from MA on the Common Core Standards..

21st century skills soft at core


Massachusetts and its municipalities spend about $9 billion each year on K-12 public education. The specter of a couple of hundred million one-time federal dollars should not be enough to persuade us to ditch academic standards that have been the foundation of the nation’s most successful education reform. Sadly, as pre-eminent education historian Diane Ravitch has said, “In the land of American pedagogy, whatever is thought to be new is … embraced more readily than what is known to be true.”

Full story:

Beth said...

California: Yes to Common Core plus 8th grade algebra (should Maine follow CA and fortify the standards???)

Staring at a midnight deadline before going out of business, a state academic standards commission last night endorsed and fortified the national common core standards in English language arts and math, with modifications that will set up students for taking a complete Algebra I course in eighth grade.

Creating the latter avoided a collision with Gov. Schwarzenegger, who appointed a majority of the 21-member California Academic Content Standards Commission and demanded eighth grade algebra as his bottom line. His undersecretary of education, Kathy Gaither, who time and again reinforced that point at commission meetings, indicated she was pleased with the outcome.

read more:

Beth said...

The State of State Standards--and the Common Core--in 2010

Review of Maine's current standards against the Common Core Standards:

Full text:

It's worth looking at the CA & MA math grades.