Posted October 16, 2019
By David Hedges, CORE Senior Education Services Math Consultant
It is almost Trick or Treat time, and I am reminded of my classroom days working with struggling Algebra 1 students. Fractions issues were the usual suspect! I used to tell my students that I was going to dress up as a fraction on Halloween and scare them all. Their choral response was usually something like, “Mr. Hedges, you are so crazy!”
Most of the math my students struggled with was not about Algebra 1 topics. The student struggles were mostly around a lack of fluency or understanding with earlier skills they had been exposed to on their math road to Algebra 1. Check out a prior blog from February 2018 written by Mary Buck, Senior Educational Services Consultant for CORE, about fluency within the Common Core Standards, Number Sense and Fluency.
I always found math to be easy as a K-12 student and went on to complete a BS in Mathematics at the ‘real USC’, University of South Carolina. As successful as I was with math, it was during a math methods course taught by Dr. Randy Philipp at San Diego State University that I had a fraction epiphany – meaning a whole epiphany about fractions.
Posted September 25, 2019
By Kareem Weaver, Member of Education Committee, NAACP, Oakland Branch
It turns out that we know exactly why Johnny can’t read. However, instead of using the brain science and overwhelming research consensus, we’re still using strategies that reflect our own biases and theories. Johnny is left to fend for himself, and the only time he may receive the support he needs is when he reaches the point of crisis.
In 2000, the federal government responded to the country’s reading confusion by producing the seminal work in the field. The National Reading Panel’s conclusions were clear: students need direct, explicit instruction that teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Depending on your cultural flavor, one can call this Structured Literacy or the Marva Collins way, but it’s simply evidence-based practices which leverage research.
Posted August 28, 2019
By Derrick Love Ed. D, Assistant Superintendent at Priority Charter Schools
Teachers join the profession to make a significant impact on the lives of students and the communities they serve. No teacher wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I want to be a bad teacher.” Their implied mindset is, “I want to be the best teacher ever! But sometimes I simply do not have the tools within my toolkit to make it happen.” The U.S. Department of Education concluded that student achievement could improve by 21 percentile points as a result of teachers’ participation in well-designed professional development programs. Intentional professional development is the key to building and sustaining high-quality teachers in the classroom.
Posted June 20, 2019
By Linda Diamond, founder and former president, CORE & Dale Webster, Chief Academic Officer, CORE
As many of our readers know, CORE has never wavered from its stance that teachers should be knowledgeable about ELA and/or math pedagogy and equally important, teachers deserve support to implement an evidence-based, standards-aligned curriculum for ELA and math. A renewed focus among educators on implementing a curriculum is a shift from the past several years where many school districts provided teachers with internally-created and loosely-designed units of study. This shift from units of study to adopting standards-aligned materials has been occurring more and more in school districts across the country and is supported by organizations such as the Gates Foundation.
Posted May 1, 2019
by Linda Diamond, founder and former president, CORE and author of the Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures
Back in September 2018 I wrote about the importance of selecting and fully implementing a great curriculum with excellent support and ongoing professional learning. This is a huge and important step in accelerating achievement for all students. But is that enough? The answer, unfortunately is “no.” A standards-aligned, high-quality curricula, while significantly improving outcomes for many students, will not be sufficient for those most at risk. Core curriculum is targeted at grade-level standards and will ensure all students have access to robust content, but it will not meet the needs of students who are significantly behind in their skills. Such students will still require a targeted or intensive intervention curricula that is well beyond what a standards-aligned core program can provide.