From UsCorrecting the RecordMemos

No Idea Too Small, No Dream Too Big

Despite a national push on diversifying the the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions, minorities, particularly African Americans, are still underrepresented. According to U.S. News and World Report, African-American and Latino workers represent 29 percent of the general workforce population (up from about 24 percent in 2001), but just 16 percent of the advanced…

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Have You Taken a Look Around?

Have you ever taken a look around your classroom, home, or office and noticed the many historical technologies that make your everyday tasks possible? Probably too many to count, right? In honor of National Inventors day and Black History Month, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to acknowledge and honor the impact of Black inventors…

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This Thanksgiving, Cook Up Some Math Skills

When our kids are learning how to read, we’re so excited to have them practice reading every chance we get. Street signs, cereal boxes, bedtime books — are all opportunities to help our kids get comfortable with reading and show off their skills. When it comes to math, however, it doesn’t always seem as natural…

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Fix Public Schools, Don’t Undermine Federal Aid

On November 6, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, published the following memo on a recent survey released by Ed Choice. An Oct. 2017 report by Ed Choice, in collaboration with researchers at the Heritage Foundation, surveyed men and women in the armed forces about issues they face in obtaining a quality…

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Beyond the Headlines: What Teachers Think of Standards & Assessments

Recent coverage of a RAND Corporation report has emphasized teachers’ support for academic standards, while also leaning into their opposition to assessments. However, when it comes to assessments, the report provides important context that can easily be overlooked—at times even burying the lead. According to the report, which draws on survey data from the 2015…

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More State ESSA Plan Submissions = Another Round of Independent Peer Reviews

On Monday, September 18, 32 states will submit their ESSA plans to the U.S. Dept. of Education (Alabama and Texas have extra time due to recent hurricanes). Our expert group of peer reviewers are looking forward to reviewing these plans alongside Bellwether Education Partners. Before the next round of peer reviews starts, we wanted to…

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Great Books to Help you Celebrate International Literacy Day

Great books stand the test of time. These books share stories of adventure, mystery, creativity, and even hope. For many, these books sparked their love of reading. For students, an increased emphasis on close reading helps them to explore texts more deeply and build the literacy skills they need to be successful in and outside of school –…

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PDK Poll: Strong Academics and Career Preparation Matter to Parents

On August 28, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on the results of the Phi Delta Kappa International Poll. Results from today’s Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) poll, combined with results from the 2017 Education Next survey earlier this month, demonstrate how both strong academics and career preparation…

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Learning from the Early Birds

  When the Collaborative, along with Bellwether Education Partners, released Check State Plans, we were glad to offer states access to the best ideas thus far put forward by states, consolidated in one spot. Since then, we’ve seen strong interest in the work through media stories, activity on the website and most importantly, the discussions…

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What’s in a Name: Education Next Survey Shows Strong Support for High Standards

On August 15, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on the results of Education Next’s 2017 Education Survey. Nearly a year ago, we noted Education Next’s annual public opinion survey and its confirmation that parents support high, comparable, college-ready standards, as well as annual assessments. Well, it’s that time…

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When It Comes to State Standards, “Going It Alone” Hasn’t Worked Well For States

  Seven years ago, most states adopted a higher, comparable baseline of education standards. For the first time, states and districts began a concerted effort to raise academic expectation to levels truly reflective of college and career readiness. In 2016, a majority of states administered high-quality assessments aligned to these higher standards for the second…

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“Overtesting” vs. Fewer, Better Assessments

Parents and community members have often raised concerns about over-testing in schools, wondering whether the amount of time spent taking exams is beneficial to students. But there are some important facts that get lost in this debate. The vast majority of tests that students take each year aren’t required by the federal government. Federal law…

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With High Standards, One Size Does Not Fit All

There is a common misconception shared among opponents that states having similarly high standards means our education system is a one-size-fits-all federal curriculum that fails to “treat children as what they are: unique individuals.” These claims are not only false, but also ignore developments by lawmakers to ensure states have full control over what schools…

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NAEP Scores vs Common Core: What You Need to Know

Critics have argued that decreases in student performance on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are evidence that the Common Core State Standards are having a negative impact. Unfortunately, these assertions are inaccurate – here’s why: For now it’s too soon to link 2015 NAEP scores to higher state standards. Most states are…

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Just the Facts: Dispelling Myths about High Standards and High-Quality, Aligned Assessments

From the beginning, misinformation about the high standards (including the Common Core) and high-quality, aligned assessments has been circulated by opponents on both sides of the aisle. Below we break down some of the most common myths – and provide the facts. MYTH: Common Core is a federal, national curriculum. FACT: The Common Core State…

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Opting Out Isn’t the Answer

Proponents of opting out have been loud in their objections to assessments. However, opt out efforts do more harm than good. Opt out efforts undermine the integrity and value of good exams, and do little to improve testing policy. They put students at a disadvantage – and not just children of families that opt out,…

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Common Core States Dropping Like Flies? Not So Fast.

Since adopting higher academic standards, many states have reviewed their learning goals, and made adjustments to customize them to meet their state’s individual needs. Unfortunately, this has left some confused about whether the states are sticking with Common Core or leaving it behind. The fact is, most states (45 to be exact), the District of…

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High, Consistent Academic Standards Don’t Conflict with Catholic Education

Critics have argued that Common Core State Standards are incompatible with Catholic education because of their focus on workforce preparation. “The basic goal of Common Core is not genuine education, but rather the training and production of workers for an economic machine,” the Pioneer Institute claims. “Common Core is ‘a recipe for standardized workforce preparation’ that…

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High Standards Not A Silver Bullet for the Achievement Gap

One of the strengths of the Common Core is that the standards build strong foundations of the skills students need to succeed at higher levels of learning, by beginning to hold students to higher expectations in early grades. While standards themselves aren’t a silver bullet to close gaps in achievement and opportunity, as more students…

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Replacing Classic Literature with Inappropriate Texts? Not Quite.

States across the country are adopting the Common Core framework to ensure state and local education officials have full control over the content taught in their schools. Yet, to hear some opponents tell it, the shift is removing classic literature from schools entirely and replacing it with “soft-core porn.” The American Spectator reports the “Common Core structure…

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Fix Public Schools, Don’t Undermine Federal Aid

On November 6, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, published the following memo on a recent survey released by Ed Choice. An Oct. 2017 report by Ed Choice, in collaboration with researchers at the Heritage Foundation, surveyed men and women in the armed forces about issues they face in obtaining a quality…

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PDK Poll: Strong Academics and Career Preparation Matter to Parents

On August 28, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on the results of the Phi Delta Kappa International Poll. Results from today’s Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) poll, combined with results from the 2017 Education Next survey earlier this month, demonstrate how both strong academics and career preparation…

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What’s in a Name: Education Next Survey Shows Strong Support for High Standards

On August 15, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on the results of Education Next’s 2017 Education Survey. Nearly a year ago, we noted Education Next’s annual public opinion survey and its confirmation that parents support high, comparable, college-ready standards, as well as annual assessments. Well, it’s that time…

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The BEST ESSA State Plan Ideas are Now Available: Put Them to Use

On June 27, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on the release of a peer review of 17 states’ ESSA plans.  Today is a big day. About ten weeks ago, we announced a partnership with Bellwether Education Partners to conduct an independent peer review of the state…

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Heritage Foundation Report Misses the Mark

A recent report by the Heritage Foundation documents the difficulty military parents have in obtaining a quality education for their children as they move from base to base during the course of a military career. Citing a study and survey sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success as part of their rationale, the Heritage authors…

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4 Annual Assessments Facts You Need To Know

On May 22, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo on annual assessments. Every spring, students in grades 3-8 take a statewide annual assessment—and then they take one more sometime during their high school years. When aligned to a state’s high academic standards, these tests are one of…

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What SB1 Means for Kentucky’s High Standards

  On March 15, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to the passage of SB1 in Kentucky. Today, Kentucky passed SB1, a bill that affirms the state’s control of its education system by enumerating educational priorities and doubling down on high academic standards. The…

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Secretary DeVos and States Move Past the Politicized Debate over Standards

On February 16, 2017, Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, released the following memo in response to recent comments made by U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, on what the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) means for the Common Core State Standards: During his campaign, we heard President Trump vow to “repeal Common…

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Incoming Education Secretary: High Standards Matter

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education has ignited considerable speculation about the impact her confirmation may have on the future of high, comparable interstate education standards. Much of the uncertainty surrounding Ms. DeVos’ views has arisen because of her own seemingly conflicting statements. Almost immediately after she became…

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Scores on the Rise: Majority of States with High Standards in Place See Improvement

On October 5, 2016 Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen released the following memo on the states’ recent test scores: A few weeks ago, I wrote that states with tests aligned to new, higher academic standards were beginning to report year-over-year scores. Students, parents, teachers and policymakers could now assess student progress and adjust…

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