By Linda Diamond and Michelle Rodriguez

Numerous recent reports cite the difference in student learning that an effective curriculum can make. These reports include Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Studies, StandardsWork, Curriculum Research: What We Know and Where We Need to Go; Ashley Berner’s report in Thomas Fordham Institute’s Flypaper, August 2018; and Brookings report by Morgan Polikoff,, June 2018. After 25 years of working with school districts to help them select and implement high-quality curriculum, we agree. However, only a couple reports, the Economic Studies Brookings Report by Morgan Polikoff and Ashley Berner’s report, address a critical difficulty—ensuring teachers have sufficient content and curriculum knowledge to use and implement a standards-based curriculum with fidelity.

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Numbers are all around us. Let’s teach children to embrace rather than fear numbers.

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This month’s CORE Excellence in Education Blog focuses on the importance of mathematical fluency and number sense as a critical foundation for entering mathematics in middle and high school.

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Real world math does not always equal relevant math. Relevance is a function of interest.

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CORE’s Excellence in Education Blog post this month is on the importance of clearing out math misconceptions in order to make room for new knowledge. See what happened during one math professional learning session when students were certain about the wrong right answer.

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Clear Instruction + Engagement = Math Fun

(By Dean Ballard, CORE’s Director of Mathematics)

I was working in a school district near Seattle a few weeks ago, doing math professional learning in the form of lesson studies in middle school math classes. Super fun time. In one sixth grade class I was teaching a lesson on “Finding the Percent of a Number.” As with any type of lesson modeling and even more extensively with lesson study, I met beforehand with teachers to review and revise the lesson as needed and agree on the focus areas for the lesson observation. In this case we were working on three areas – student engagement, discourse, and checking for understanding. We had a team of four teachers, the math coach, and the coordinator, all of whom would watch the lesson and debrief together afterwards.

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Read CORE CEO Linda Diamond’s Ed Week commentary on the Common Core

A new disorder seems to have swept the nation: Common Core State Standards Syndrome. This malady is characterized by sharply polarized positions—worshiping the common core as schools’ salvation, or condemning it as on the path to Armageddon. The clinical manifestation is similar: op-eds in newspapers (“Common Core Education Is Uncommonly Inadequate,” The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2013) or editorials (“Moving Ahead With Common Core,” The New York Times, April 20, 2013), impassioned blogs, and spirited tweets.

Entire states exhibit symptoms as well, embracing the standards one year and threatening to dump them the next. READ MORE