Background: The Washington Post (see link below) recently described how the new Common Core Standards for K-12 schools came to be adopted in 43 states. Financed largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Common Core is a set of uniform academic standards in English and math replacing the uneven patchwork quilt that left the standards up to each state. Proponents say Common Core will better prepare students for success in college and career and opponents says education policy should be left to state and local governments. Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-bill-gates-pulled-off-the-swift-common-core-revolution/2014/06/07/a830e32e-ec34-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html
About two-thirds of district superintendents said they believe the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education in their communities, while 22 percent said the standards will have no effect, according to the results from a new poll.
The survey, one of several conducted by the Gallup polling organization in partnership with Education Week over the last year, also found that two out of three superintendents believe the common standards are “just about right” in terms of difficulty for students. Fourteen percent, which cover English/language arts and mathematics, said the standards are too challenging, and just 5 percent said the standards are not challenging enough.
Meanwhile, 43 percent of respondents strongly disagreed when asked whether they were receiving “adequate support” from the federal government to implement the common core.
Efforts to eliminate extra pay for teachers who earn advanced degrees are gaining momentum in a small but growing number of U.S. schools, stirring a national debate about how best to compensate quality educators and angering teachers who say the extra training is valuable.
More than half of the nation’s teachers have master’s degrees or higher, but the changing salary structure is giving pause to others considering the same path. Texas’ two largest school districts, in Houston and Dallas, recently eliminated advanced degree pay going forward, following the example of North Carolina, where lawmakers last year started phasing it out. A few other states have made tweaks to reduce how much advanced degrees factor into pay.
“They’re trying to say there’s no value at all for a teacher going back to increase their knowledge,” said Rena Honea, president of Alliance-AFT, which represents Dallas Independent School District employees. “Just by having the additional knowledge in their content area gives them more tools in their toolbox to be able to reach the different types of learners that are in the classroom.”
By Stephen Sawchuk
The American Federation of Teachers’ governing body has passed a resolution calling for more teacher input into the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
It passed by a majority in a standing vote, but the debate on the item underscored the extremely divergent opinions within the 1.6 million-member union about the K-12 student expectations.
The sign welcoming travelers to Iredell County, N.C., labels it as “Crossroads of the Future,” but that might not be assertive enough for the people living there.
The county, home to Iredell-Statesville school district, prides itself on innovation and direct action in responding to the needs of children. The system sees itself as a model for the future, not just a pit stop.
“There’s no such thing as a school system standing still,” said Superintendent Brady Johnson. “If you’re not innovating, you’re gonna go backwards, and kids will regress. That’s unacceptable to us.”