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Live from Summit 2014: Winning the Fight for Higher Standards

Patrick McCarthy of the ExxonMobil foundation introduced our Summit 2014 session on educational standards. As a taxpayer and an employer, ExxonMobil advocates for improving educational standards in their communities. ExxonMobil’s interest in educational standards reflects the high stakes for everyone — businesses included — in the fight for the Common Core standards.Andy Plattner, of Plattner Communications, moderated the session on higher standards. Plattner kicked off the conversation by sharing a video of […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: But How Do We Know What’s Working?

The pace of technology adoption in schools is accelerating like a Formula 1 race car driven by both teachers and administrators hungry for products that spur deeper engagement and better results.. But how can customers, product developers, and investors figure out what’s working?  In this session we heard from entrepreneurs, investors and publishers about the latest ideas for defining efficacy and assessing the impact of education technology on student learning.  In the past […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: Reading Reconsidered

When it comes to teaching literacy, content and skills (like decoding specific words and citing their definitions) are inseparable. In a live session at NewSchools Summit, Doug Lemov (Uncommon Schools), Kyla Johnson Trammell (Oakland Unified School District), and Roberto Pondiscio (Democracy Prep) surfaced the above example and discussed the key approaches to elevating the rigor of reading instruction. Read more

John King, Common Core Warrior

For New York State Education Commissioner, John King implementing the Common Core State Standards isn’t about politics, it isn’t a game, these standards matter! Just to get is straight, CCSS are not curricula and they do not determine what students should read or how teachers should teach. They are simply a set of standards, developed by The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to set goals for what students should know at the end of each grade. These new standards will set a higher bar for students, allow for a greater emphasis on higher-level thinking and encourage a more in-depth understanding of materials — in short, CCSS will place the United States back in line with other top performing nations and the new economy. Read more

Top 10 Education Stories from 2013 to Watch for in 2014

I just got an email from a friend the other day asking for my mailing address to send me a holiday card. When my kids were toddlers, our holiday cards went out about a month late too. Here at NewSchools, we have lots of toddler-aged ventures that keep us too busy to post our New Year’s reflection right at the beginning of January. So, better late than never, here are my reflections from 2013, many of which are stories to watch in 2014. Read more

Mowing Down the Mistakes of Confused Common Core Opponents

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online portal SFGate.com ran an anti-Common Core op-ed authored by George Ball, the “past president of the American Horticultural Society.” While reasonable minds may disagree about the merits of the Common Core, this particular editorial was so riddled with factual errors I couldn’t stop myself from going through this piece line-by-line to rebut the most egregious misstatements. It’s one thing for the far-right fringe to indulge in Common Corespiracy theories, but surely the Chronicle can do better than this? Read more

Why are the Common Core standards worth fighting for?

Before answering that question, let’s first do a little homework. Please turn to page 22 of this booklet, released only this morning, which contains sample assessment items from the New York state Common Core-aligned math assessment for third graders. Although you might be afraid of math even at this grade level, page 22 contains a relatively easy question about finding the areas for two equivalent rectangles. This question aligns with the Common Core standard 3.MD.C.7a, which in plain English means 3rd grade math, measurement and data, covering the concept of geometric measurement of area and related to multiplication and addition. Read more

Curriculum, the Trojan Horse of School Reform

As a country, we’ve vastly under-appreciated the importance of high-quality content as a key lever to improve teaching and learning. One of my mentors Dr. Denise Pope, lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Education, calls curriculum the “Trojan horse of school reform.” I believe this to be true, now more than ever. The conditions are ripe for a curriculum revolution that has the potential to both improve student achievement and support great teaching.* Read more