8 Chapters
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 3 International Benchmarking: Go East, Young Man! Far East!

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

Have you thought of relocating to a place like Shanghai? Hong Kong? Singapore? Japan? The Republic of Korea? When homebuyers in the United States ask realtors what they should consider as priorities when purchasing a new home, they frequently get the response “location, location, location.” As we forge further into the 21st century, and as the global competition for jobs continues to increase, realtors in the future might just reply “education, education, education.”

The increased requirements for jobs a student could obtain right out of high school and the push for more students to graduate from colleges and universities make the demand for top-notch public schools greater than ever before. Yet, while the trend for smarter workers is up throughout the world, U.S. student performance on international assessments, an indicator of preparedness for globally competitive jobs, is down. If you want the very best education, you might want to consider going east—Far East.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, speaking of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, notes:

See All Chapters
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 1 Where Are We Now? Standards Déjà Vu

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

After implementing state standards since the 1990s, U.S. educators now using the Common Core State Standards may be feeling a little standards déjà vu. Been there, done that. So why did we change standards again?

Before we decide to engage in a long journey anywhere, we need a good reason. The reason can be as simple as wanting to take a vacation, to take a new job, to visit a loved one, to learn a new skill, to regenerate, to gain a new perspective, or to get home to Kansas. Before we start down a path to change substantially what and how we teach our youth, we also need a good reason. We need a rationale for making major changes that goes beyond just being told to do so, as that rationale does not bode very well for achieving the hoped-for results.

Since the decision to adopt the Common Core came at the state level (top down), it is important that educators at the local level, who are implementing these standards, understand the rationale that undergirds the standards and see the value of the CCSS as a tool to guide instruction in 21st century classrooms. This book begins by laying out some of the economic and societal reasons for the rise of the Common Core, in the hopes that a deeper understanding of the “why” behind the CCSS will generate ideas and enthusiasm for implementing them successfully. After all, the reform efforts that work are the ones that people make their own.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 8 Role Over! New Roles in the CCSS School

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

While doing a standards implementation review for a state in New England in the late 1990s, a group of U.S. educators, at the request of the state superintendent of instruction, visited schools to gather evidence about how effective the state department’s efforts were in assisting teachers in implementing the state’s standards. The state superintendent also wanted to know if the visiting educators could see and hear the state standards as they visited the schools. Were the state standards prevalent in the classrooms and in what ways?

When several of the educators on the state review team entered a second-grade classroom in one school, the students were all industriously working on a project. Some students were working at desks, some on the floor, and some on a rug by the classroom library; but all were very busy and engaged in their work. The teacher was walking around the room, stopping to ask the students questions specific to the task they were working on, answering questions the students asked, and providing specific feedback always directly related to the students’ work. The teacher often phrased this feedback in the form of a question, the answer to which caused the students to evaluate their work against the criteria for the anticipated end product.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 6 A Deep Dive Into the CCSS

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Indostan,

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl:

“God bless me! but the Elephant

Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,

Cried,—“Ho! what have we here

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me ’tis mighty clear,

This wonder of an Elephant

Is very like a spear!”

The Third approach’d the animal,

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,”—quoth he—“the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,

And felt about the knee:

“What most this wondrous beast is like

See All Chapters
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 7 Centering CCSS in CSI

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

Dr. Seuss had an uncanny way of being able to communicate ideas in a few simple sentences that would have taken many authors pages, if not volumes, to write. Dr. Seuss took us on journeys. Through his insightful mind, we traveled many places, from the Jungle of Nool to Mount Crumpit to Solla Sollew. While the places we saw and the characters we met were different from anything we knew, the adventure was fun, the journey caused us to think, and at the end, somehow, wherever we ended up was instantly familiar and meaningful. Dr. Seuss was able to take us to far-off lands to discover ourselves and what we could be.

As we are still in the early stages of implementing the Common Core, we have a long and exciting journey ahead of us. While the CCSS define the content standards, it is the assessments that will ultimately define the performance standards. The two must work in tandem—the content standards defining what students should learn and the performance standards defining what proficient performance looks like. As we get results back on the CCSS assessments, whether they are from PARCC, SBAC, or state-designed assessments, the data should be informative and provide us with another insight into our CCSS implementation efforts. Now is the ideal time to re-evaluate our efforts and to re-examine our CCSS implementation plan. The first questions to ask are: Are we on the right road? Do we really have a clear, shared vision of what a CCSS school ought to be?

See All Chapters

See All Chapters