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Monday, April 27, 2015
Editorial
State's test-prep efforts get an F

Ten years ago, English Language Arts teachers used to speak of inspiring their students to become lifelong readers and lovers of the written word. They encouraged students to discover literature through their favorite authors and genres. Reading was supposed to be a magical experience that transported young people to new worlds. Excitement was the reading teacher’s buzzword.

The concept was simple: If students could latch onto reading and writing with a passion, then they would likely continue reading and writing –– and learning –– for a lifetime, whether they attended college or not.

Meanwhile, math teachers used to speak of applying mathematics to real-life situations, like creating budgets, balancing checkbooks or plotting mileage between points A, B and C. Yes, students were expected to move on to higher-order math concepts. But math was supposed to begin with everyday situations. Fun was the math teacher’s buzzword.

Flash-forward 10 years. Teachers and students now face a daunting array of new standards that federal and state education officials say are geared toward preparing all students for college and work. Universities and employers have for too long complained that students are finishing high school wholly unprepared for the demands of higher education and the workplace. And so the Common Core State Standards were born.

According to the website corestandards.org, the Common Core State Standards Initiative “is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing entry courses at two- or four-year colleges or enter the workforce.” States began adopting the standards in 2010.

Education officials in New York and Kentucky raced to implement Common Core, and this past year they completely reworked their English Language Arts and mathematics exams for grades three to eight to reflect the new standards.

Comments

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bfalsitta

This generation of children must be able to feel confident enough to take the test and pass it. The parents need to be able to help them prepare for it. I would love to see what these tests look like. Copies of these tests should be available for teachers and parents to view so they have a better uderstanding of what the children need to prepare for. The teachers need to know what areas the kids need help in so they can prepare them for future testing. My next question is, why are we subjecting our kids to these tests, without a better understanding of what these test scores really mean or prove. Who saya our kids are failing if they don't pass these exams? What does the state know when it comes to children. The teachers have a better understanding then anyone.

Friday, August 16, 2013 | Report this
kjgrimm

I have been an educator for over 30 years. Teaching has become dull and all I see are stressed out teachers and students. I am glad my own children are at the end of their school careers and I am ready to retire. The curriculum as I see it is moving too quickly for little brains to absorb. When kindergarteners don't have time to play, we are doing our children a great disservice. I also question the integrity of a test that students can opt out from. How is any of this helpful to our children and how does it affect the accountability of our teachers? I doubt there are educators making decisions on how to educate our children but I am certain professional testing companies are the only ones to benefit.

Friday, August 16, 2013 | Report this
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