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New standards article

Memo to students: Change is on the way (again)

Shifting standards

8:08 AM, Sep 17, 2012 |

gannett.com
Bayann Shamma, left, and her lab partner Iman Khan work with separated liquids in an eighth-grade science class at the El-Sewedy International Academy of Cincinnati. Under Ohio's Common Core Standards, schools will expect students to collaborate and use what they learn in class to solve real-life problems.
Bayann Shamma, left, and her lab partner Iman Khan work with separated liquids in an eighth-grade science class at the El-Sewedy International Academy of Cincinnati. Under Ohio's Common Core Standards, schools will expect students to collaborate and use what they learn in class to solve real-life problems. / The Enquirer/Tony Jones

Rolling out Common Core

The Ohio Department of Education says the transition to the Common Core State Standards should be underway.
Students in grades K-2 should be working with the standards now.
Full implementation should be in place for all grade levels during the 2013-2014 school year, the department says.
The timeline for the development and implementation of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards is:
• 2012-13 school year: First-year pilot/field testing and related research and data collection
• 2013-14 school year: Second-year pilot/field testing and related research and data collection
• 2014-15 school year: Full operational administration of state assessments
• Summer 2015: Set achievement levels, including college-ready performance levels

More

Memo

To:Ohio and Kentucky Public School Students

From:The Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board

Subject:The Common Core Standards, Your Education and Your Life

Over the next three years, what you learn, but even more important, how you learn, is going to change a lot.

Ohio has adopted something called the Common Core Standards. Before your eyes glaze over or drift to the technology in your pocket, give us a minute to explain why you should care.

It’s no secret to you that basically all of us adults keep wanting you guys to get smarter.

The problem is we keep changing our minds on just how to make you smarter. You’d bolt right now if we attempted to tell you everything we’ve tried, but suffice it to say you’ve probably heard – oh, about a thousand times – of the OGT, for example. The Ohio Graduation Tests are the kind of stuff we’re talking about.

Now Ohio, Kentucky and 43 other states are trying to do things differently. In a nutshell, they’ve agreed there are certain things students in all those states should know and be able to do that will make them really ready for college, a trade school or a community college – and eventually a job.

You probably know students who went to college and then had to take extra classes because they weren’t prepared enough, or graduated and looked for a job and couldn’t find one because they didn’t have the right skills? Well, that shouldn’t happen any more.

But people have been saying that kind of stuff all along, so all of us – you included – should be somewhat skeptical and certainly curious.

What’s supposed to happen is your teachers will slow down the pace a little, probably not cover as much, but give assignments – and tests, too – that make you think and search and analyze and even conclude stuff. You’ll be reading and writing more in all your classes. You’ll spend more time working with nonfiction texts – the sources of information most people work with in their jobs every day – and applying the math you learn to real-life problems and situations.

So how would that look?

Let us give you a “live” example. The experts behind this keep saying a typical assignment might be to ask a student to write an editorial. So we’d like to show you what went into writing this one:

• Members of the editorial board informally talked about the topic, debated if now was the time to write about the Common Core, then landed on the approach of writing the editorial as a memo to students.

• Next, we looked over our notes from discussions with experts and read past stories.

• Then we went to the Ohio Department of Education website for basic information, along with those of other state departments of education and then to other education groups, including some typically critical of traditional approaches.

• We dug around at the “scholarly level” for a while, looking at the history, theories and research behind the Common Core movement.

• We wanted to hear from the “ground level” – real people who are going to have to use the standards – so we called a smattering of local school districts.

• Then we thought about what we’ve seen with our own children, and from our own experience with schools.

• We made our peace with a few aspects of this process that we didn’t like – that we can’t give a definitive opinion on this topic because it’s still evolving, that the tests aren’t developed yet, that there may not be money in the state budget to do this thing right.

• We wrote this with words we don’t usually use, like stuff and guys because we wanted to engage a special audience – you.

• We thought about “breakout boxes” that would graphically set apart special information, in this case the timeline for rolling out the Common Core Standards.

• We passed a rough draft among us, made revisions and sent it to the copy editors.

This is the kind of stuff that real-life employers will want to you to know how to do – how to collaborate to get things done in the workplace.

The “experts” say Ohio students need to write and present information in ways that convince people of something.

We’re interested in what you have to say about it.

We’d like to hear from students and teachers willing to tell us about the roll-out of the standards and give us feedback – maybe on a blog, or video or by writing occasional pieces for the editorial page.

We know many school districts won’t see much movement this year, but we might invite you to sit in with us on editorial board meetings or news meetings as we shape our coverage of education reform.

Send us your name, school, whether you’re a student or teacher and a short paragraph or two why you’d like to be one of our on-the-ground observers. Shoot the email to Editorial Page Editor David Holthaus at dholthaus@enquirer.com.

For more information on Ohio’s standards, you can go to http://www.ode.state.oh.us/.

For more on Kentucky standards, go to http://www.education.ky.gov/.

For information on national standards, http://www.corestan

dards.org/.

DMU Timestamp: September 21, 2012 23:54





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