Monday, June 28, 2010

The Common Core State Standards - what kind of effect will they have on education in Georgia?

Below is a letter written to the public by Wanda Barrs, chair of the Georgia Board of Education, describing the new "Common Core State Standards", published in the Get Schooled blog at the AJC.

The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, co-chaired by Gov. Sonny Perdue, recently issued a common set of English language arts and mathematics standards that states can adopt.

Through these Common Core State Standards, students, teachers, parents, colleges and employers throughout Georgia, and indeed much of the United States, will have a first-class guide to what our children must know and be able to do to succeed in college, the 21st-century workplace and as contributing citizens in our democracy.

Will implementing the Common Core State Standards in Georgia reverse or shut down the implementation of our Georgia Performance Standards? Is this is a federal mandate to “take over” education? The answer to these questions is a resounding “no.”

The Common Core State Standards is a state-led initiative — not a federal mandate. Georgia teachers and other experts in standards setting have been at the table since the process began.

When the expert development groups — that the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association pulled together — began to write the standards in mathematics and English language arts, they built off of the rigorous college- and career-ready standards that some states had already developed.
Georgia was one of these select states.

When reading the new core standards, one can see elements of the Georgia Performance Standards throughout. Therefore, while adopting the Common Core State Standards in Georgia will be a step forward – and give our teachers more refined tools to better prepare our young people for work and college – it will not be a drastic change for either our teachers or our students.

Some of the standards are introduced at different grade levels, but teachers have, essentially, been implementing the Common Core State Standards while they’ve been teaching the Georgia Performance Standards.

Without question, there has been much conversation about the integrated approach of our Georgia Performance Standards for mathematics. While all of us want our students to succeed, unfortunately, for too long, Georgia has lagged behind the nation and other countries in mathematics achievement.

An integrated approach to math is one way that states can help students master the skills and knowledge outlined within the Common Core State Standards.We look forward to continuing a conversation with parents, teachers and the community on how to help our students excel.

Once our mathematics curriculum is fully implemented, I have every confidence that our students will be the winners.Our state’s mathematics standards, supported by the Common Core State Standards, will help Georgia’s students rise above the rest. In the simplest terms, standards set the goal for what students should know and be able to do by the time they complete a grade level and then ultimately graduate high school. Curriculum, on the other hand, guides how a teacher teaches the standards.

Since 2004, we have been overhauling our state’s curriculum.

The new curriculum is the product of a lot of hard work by classroom teachers, parents, businesses and curriculum experts. Our award-winning curriculum is nearing full implementation with great results.So, if our curriculum is already good, why join this initiative?

While our standards give our teachers an excellent tool to prepare our young people, we are always looking for opportunities to improve. The Common Core State Standards integrate much of the Georgia Performance Standards, but benefit from the best and latest research allowing them to advance the groundwork we have laid.

The Common Core State Standards will allow for a meaningful comparison of our students’ achievement with students in other states. Currently, states operate with different standards, making it impossible to accurately compare data nationally or internationally.

Our students will be competing for jobs with students from all over the world. We must be able to compare ourselves to the rest of the U.S. and other countries to ensure that we are providing students with the tools they need to be globally competitive.And the initiative will allow for better purchasing power.

Since 48 participating states will have a consistent educational framework, textbook and instructional resource companies will be able to develop and target resources to one set of standards. This will help to reduce prices and ensure that funds are spent wisely. In these difficult economic times and beyond, it is essential that we maximize resources and invest wisely.

I am proud of the work done by teachers, parents, administrators and others to improve education in Georgia over the last few years, and we are excited to share and leverage our efforts with other states. By collaborating on the Common Core State Standards, working together we can take the next step to move Georgia’s schools from great to world-class.


For an opposing opinion on the subject, read a letter posted at "Get Schooled", by Cindy Lutenbacher, a teacher and DeKalb public school parent.


Cerebration said...

I want to also include a poignant comment on the issue from the AJC blog.

Just a teacher
June 26th, 2010
3:55 am

When I started teaching some 30 years ago, I knew it was my calling. Based on my education and experience, I thought I had something to offer. Now, I am treated like a leper…I somehow stopped knowing what I was doing over the past 10 years. Test, test, test. Yes, it is absolute madness. I’ve seen too, too many children stop reading once they get to public schools as the emphasis turns to preparation for standardized testing.

3 of my young relatives got classified as slow because they lived to savor and read their books in 2nd-4th grades. Their teachers had to unlearn them so that they could be put on timers as they prepared for their high stakes CRCT testing. Two refuse to read on their own now and one only if she can read Highlights not chapter books. Their parents are middle class Black working people who go to P.T.A’s. They shelled out thousands over the summers for programs to get their children to read again.
I am crying as I write this. These parents will save their children. How many parents cannot and will not? This whole thing is ludicrous. The unsaved children get to Middle School and High School passed on because of pressure to not let them fail. This is hopeless. These kids are miserable, having babies, and joining the blame wagon for why they can’t pass increasingly more rigorous standardized tests. They were never allowed to just develop a love of learning. Pre-k through 2nd grade should be fun for children. I do not know if these testing idiots and Mr. Gates with his electronic empire understand our kids. They are taking the joy out of just plain learning to read. Those students attended Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools. One has moved to avoid a terrible Middle School experiment. Two others got out of Dekalb County Schools and sacrificed and sent their children to private school. The Black parents are both doctors. Still others are trying charters. They have seen first hand how teachers worried about test scores and their jobs are destroying our children. Stop the insanity!

Cerebration said...

Also, please read this article at posted by Diane Ravitch in the "Bridging Differences" blog.

She makes this point,
Here is my overall impression of what is happening in D.C. The federal government now controls education policy in the United States, thanks to No Child Left Behind, which caused an unprecedented expansion of federal power into every public classroom. As you know, I believe that NCLB did not raise standards, but actually caused a dumbing-down of American education through its accountability provisions, which emphasize only basic skills. When schools are incentivized to measure only basic skills, then everything else loses time and is de-emphasized: the arts, history, geography, civics, science, foreign languages, even physical education. When the test results are used to reward or punish teachers, principals, and schools, then there is even less time for anything that is not tested. When education becomes warped in this way, quality goes down. John Dewey's mythical "best and wisest parent" would not enroll his or her child in such a school.

I agree. Stop the testing madness and encourage our children to LOVE learning.

Cerebration said...

And one more partial comment from a teacher at the AJC blog -

The presenters reiterate over and over how similar the new CCSS are to our Georgia Performance Standards and the fact that Georgia’s standards were used to write the CCSS. If that’s the case, why do we need to adopt standards we already have and subject the educators in our state to another layer of federal oversight and control to adopt a curriculum we already have?
I submit to you that it is not at all really about this phenomenal new curriculum that is the silver bullet fix for educating our children. It is about the current federal administration wanting to control the education of your children, including what goes into the textbooks. Kudos go out to Texas and Alaska for resisting this movement. I end as I began, anyone have land for sale in Texas or Alaska?”

Dunwoody Mom said...

Kudos to Texas, really? Where they have totally rewritten curriculum to fit a political agenda? With that comment, the teacher lost all credibility.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Cere we must on same wave-lengths here. I just finished her Diane Ravitch's book, after having started it several months ago. It's a read eye-opener and should be required reading for every politican.

Many, many parents knew from the beginning that NCLB would dumb-down our students. However, I have come across teachers in my children's lives that have managed to integrate some "real" learning in the midst of all this "teaching to the test" - Bravo to those teachers!!!

Cerebration said...

Right on DM! I have advocated for vocational/technical high schools for many years, only to witness a very strong pull in the opposite direction. For some reason, our educational leaders have concluded that everyone should be college material. They continue to delude themselves into believing that they are delivering this college-prep, world-class education to everyone while turning a blind eye to the thousands of young people who are being "left behind" every year. We have a responsibility to educate everyone to the best of their abilities and desires. We need to dig out a newfound respect for hard-working, middle class folks like car mechanics, plumbers, dental techs, hairdressers, carpenters, x-ray techs, on and on.

We simply must somehow provide alternate pathways to success for the thousands of young people who do not/ cannot / will not sit in a chair in a classroom every day. Many people learn in other ways - hands on. Many people can't maintain the grueling, back-to-back class schedule and heavy load of homework. Many people simply want a happy life. It's not only the best thing for the individual student, it's the best thing for a fully functioning society full of people able to take care of their own needs and the needs of their families.

Cerebration said...

BTW - here is the link to our original post about Texas just saying NO to the Race to the Top money.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with standards and normative testing. Most countries with effective educational systems do it. Add a serious written component to a well-designed multiple-choice test and the result can be a very good test. The standardized tests in Georgia that cause so much trouble in the high schools are laughably easy. The main problem lies with the low abilities of the students and many teachers. Many of the students have no business being in a college-track program, while many of the teachers have no business teaching college-preparatory subjects. Then there's the bureaucracy, which exists mainly to justify its own inflated salaries. Nothing will change until people demand change, but since they are products of one of the worst educational systems in the country why would it be reasonable to expect them to do this?

Dunwoody Mom said...

I don't believe anyone said that there was anything wrong with testing. Our point is that teaching students to pass a test is all we seem to be doing in today's schools to the detriment of actual educating our students.

Anonymous said...

I wish the Feds would get out of the business of educating our kids. The Dept. of Education has not been around that long. Plus, like Dunwoody Mom says, whichever political party is in power they control what gets doled out to the states. Congressional Republicans and Democrats wrote NCLB, Bush signed it into law and what has that gotten us? Stop funding the Federal Dept. of Education and let the states decide what they want to teach and how they want to pay for it.

We need to take the politics out of teaching and begin to teach our kids what really happened in the 17 and 1800's and what our founders expected our country to become. Woodrow Wilson rewrote history and it's amazing the history that is NOT being taught in our schools. Did you know the first person to die in the Revolutionary War was a Black Man? Did you know that there are many black men and women who helped shape our country when it was first established? For some reason history was re-written at the turn of the last century, it's time we begin to teach what really happened in the early days of the USA.

I know some of you HATE Glenn Beck, I do not agree with a lot of his rants, however he had a show on Friday and Raven Clabough, from the New American, wrote a great description of the show;

Last week’s episode of Founders’ Fathers focused on the African American Founders. Guests David Barton and Lucas Morel, Professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, discussed many patriotic black Americans that have been written out of textbooks, including James Armistead, who served as a spy for George Washington; Benjamin Banneker, brilliant Mathematician and scientist; Richard Allen, valiant Revolutionary soldier; and Joseph Hayne Rainey, first black to preside over the House of Representatives. The experts explained that black patriots have been written out of American history in order to create a racial divide in the United States. It imposes a “victim narrative” on black Americans and teaches them to believe that the United States is not their country. Luckily, in the revisions made by the Texas Board of Education, these men have been put back in the history textbooks, much to the disappointment of the Left.

I'm just saying, it's time parents take control of the schools and let's get the politics of hate and division out! Texas Board of Ed might not be the total solution, but at least they are trying to write back in some the history that had been written out, what's wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

But why do schools have to spend so much time teaching students to "pass" laughably easy tests?

Anonymous said...

How do you know the test are "laughably easy"? Have you taken one? How do you explain a student that scored in the 85% on the ITBS, but yet did not break the 800 mark on the CRCT?

My children are both considered "gifted" as defined by the national standards, but yet none of them have ever stated the CRCT was "laughably easy".

Anonymous said...

What information does standardized testing give us? Would a better source of preliminary data be to test the teachers? Perhaps teachers should be tested on their subject area, their understanding of cognition for the age they are teaching and be evaluated for their ability to manage a classroom? If we assume all people have differing levels of abilities then it follows that there is a variety of abilities within the teaching profession. Do we not need a rigorous method to identify the most talented teachers? After identifying the best teachers, we could determine the differential between their students' outcomes compared to average and below average teachers. We could identify patterns, educational backgrounds and teaching methods that the best are using to be effective. Knowing who is producing the best educational product and how they are transmitting education to students seems to be the data that we need to find.

Of course, assuming that all teachers are not equal, should we then pay teachers based on their performance rather than simply by years of service?

This is just food for thought on how to get better data and better outcomes.

Anonymous said...

The high-school tests in Georgia are a joke. Very few people wish to address this issue. Compare these tests to the mandatory testing done in, say, England, Germany, or Finland. Why does the system here have to expend so much effort to get such pitiful results on tests that require neither much critical thinking nor any indpendent writing? Why is there such an extreme gulf between the established private schools and public schools? Again, no one wishes to address such an issue. The systemic failure is too profound and too deep.

Anonymous said...

Why does the system here have to expend so much effort to get such pitiful results on tests that require neither much critical thinking nor any indpendent writing?

You do realize there there is a writing element to GHSGT?

Anonymous said...

"Writing element to the GHSGT"? Go look at it. It's an embarrassment and actually boasts a high "pass" rate. Then compare it to the senior writing requirements at Woodward, Lovett, etc. Then compare it to the writing requirements for the exit exams in other countries with which we like to compare ourselves. People here don't like to admit just how low the educational system has sunk.

Anonymous said...

Have seen the GHSGT? I have not.
Why don't you post the writing tests for Lovett and Woodward as well as GHSGT and we'll do a compare and contrast on the blog?

Anonymous said...

In regards to testing, my 11 year old who reads two books a week did not do as well on the CRCT reading segment, as my 10 year old who HATES reading and barely gets through 1 book every two weeks. To provide perspective, my 11 year old read the first Harry Potter the summer before 1st grade, he reads on an 11th & 12th grade level.

Talking to them they both said the tests are easy, they just do not give enough time to complete them. Thankfully, they both made the Principal's Honor Roll and are in Discovery and my 11 year old is headed to the High Achiever classes at Chamblee Middle.

The tests are useful way to provide the parents and teachers a guide to the kids progress. However, one teacher had to cram her students with information about American Revolutionary History, one week before the test. She had realized the kids had never covered a certain segment of American History that was a part of the CRCT test.

Anonymous said...

The problem as I see it, is that teachers look at the standards as all that they are to teach. I was taught that the state standards were the minimum that a teacher was to teach. Teachers, parents, administrators, are focused on test scores rather than what children really know and understand.

For example, when I taught 4th grade history, I was to skip the pages about how Africans helped the explorers with the many inventions that they had. I did not follow DCSS policy and taught this anyway. I also included other information that about the topics that I taught not in our social studies books, but that I knew as a history buff.

It seems to me that our government wants to keep the American people down. If we were truly educating our children and allowing them to question and find answers and solutions to their questions we would be creating a generation of children that may question much of what the government is doing and involved in today. Keeping people uninformed gives those in power the upper hand.

History has been rewritten. Tests that students take are weak and do not show the ability to learn, what a child has learned, and have such low "passing" rates, that it should be criminal.

Until parents and tax payers wake up and begin to ask what their children are learning instead of what grades they are receiving, this mantra will continue. Parents caring more about grades and instead of student learning is one reason why DCSS has taken the no zero policy and giving students many chances to complete work. Good grades do not equal student achievement or student learning.

No Child Left Behind, has been a waste of tax payer money and has left all of our children behind. Hopefully parents will begin to wake up and realize that they cannot trust the government to educate and raise their children.

Anonymous said...

African inventions did not help the Europeans explore the world (there were no significant African technological inventions). Technology from the Muslim world (sails, astrolabe) and China (compass)did. First, educate the teachers. Then worry about the students.

Kim Gokce said...

@cere: "We need to dig out a newfound respect for hard-working, middle class folks like car mechanics, plumbers, dental techs, hairdressers, carpenters, x-ray techs, on and on."

Good luck with that in DeKalb. The "integrated" tech school at Cross Keys lost their dedicated counselor and chief recruiter to ... DSA. After being displaced for a year in modules, the career tech programs will begin their first year in the new facility with no fully dedicated "champion" to go to area schools and promote enrollment.

I understand that the admin policies require only one "Head Counselor" for a given school and I get that. But the fact that DSA remains technically a separate school within Avondale and the Tech North school has been merged into CK admin is just another example of inconsistent management decision-making and seemingly favoritism.

Regarding testing, we have been moving increasingly in the direction of "teaching the test" for a long, long time. Besides the necessary creation of enormous bureaucratic overhead to administer these processes, this focus has confined the role of teachers to that of trainers.

Having worked hands-on with some of our juniors, I have been surprised by some of the fundamental concepts missing in their education to-date. There is no doubt we are sacrificing understanding and education for programmed responses. A lot of "how" but not a whole lot of "why" left in mathematics, for example, from what I've seen.

Passionate... said...

I have been in education over 30 years. I come from a long line of educators. We all agree on standard-based education with an emphasis on "love of learning". We also agree on assessments that make sense.
However, I have seen the emphasis switch from "teaching the love of learning" to "making a passing score" on the CRCT so our school can make AYP. The CRCT emphasis on "passing" does not encourage students to "exceed standards."
Most students who fail the test, will say "I missed it by only one question." When in fact, they missed over 50% of the questions. Example: cut score to meet standard and get an 800 score in reading was 18 out of 40 questions correct. If the student had 17 right, he/she missed one question from getting the passing score; but in actuality, he/she missed 23 questions.
A 2010-2011 fifth grade English Language Learner will undergo 12 mandated pre and post-test sessions connected with new Storytown Reading Curriculum. Twelve pre/post tests for math. Eight days for CogAT and ITBS in the fall. Two sessions for Writing Assessment in spring. Four sessions for ACCESS testing. Five days [two long sections each day]for CRCT.
A few weeks ago a very wise mid 20 year old working in the corporate world, said "elementary education should focus on the fundamentals and a love for learning."
Our DCSS students are struggling every day in 4th grade through high school because they missed the fundamentals.
Standard based education with autentic ongoing assessments and "compacting" [forming groups] based on skills mastered can and will result in students who have mastered the fundamentals and have a love for learning.
The common core state standards include mathematical practices; #6 attend to precision. Students memorizing facts will have a better chance to be precise and when facts are mastered, the concrete foundation will enable the mastery of the next skill. The speaking and listening standards are needed in this daywhere "texting" "facebook" and "twitter" "video games" has replaced the art of holding a conversation.
Decisions about Common Core State Standards, Georgia Performance Standards, DCSS mandates include "teacher input." How long ago were they in the trenches?
Many initiatives are "trial and error" and have been written by folks that have been out of touch with actual classroom experience for years, or have had isolated experiences.
will continue

Passionate... said...

Many years ago an ancestor of mine taught in a one room schoolhouse in a farming community. Most years she had 40 first to eight grade students. She spent approximately 30 minutes with each group. Most of the work was done independently. Those that had mastered a skill helped teach those that were struggling. Other time was spent with oral reports and presentations [project based learning]. Conversations [social time] took place during lunch and recess [and walks to and from school]. Skill based tests were used to measure mastery. One standard based measurement [test] was administered during the last month of school to measure retention of material learned. Fundamentals were emphasized in lower grades and subject matter in upper grades. Results: doctors, engineers, lawyers, homemakers, dress designers, beauticians, dentists, mathematicians, scientists, librarians, etc.
What was and is still amazing if you know someone educated years ago in a one room school houseby an excellent teacher/facilitator of learning; they can still do math formulas in their heads; pen a legible letter; know the meaning of most words [roots, prefixes, suffixes, origins]; and hold an intelligent conversation. Excellent teachers can and do make great decisions on a daily basis on behalf of students. They go above and beyond. They teach a "love of learning." They instill confidence. They teach to exceed standards.
About 25 years ago, a neighbor walked his daughter back up to the school. She earned a failing grade on a teacher made mathematics test. The teacher immediately informed the parent that she was not about to change the grade. He informed the teacher that he didn't want the grade changed; he wanted a copy of the information on the test so he could make sure his daughter mastered the material that she didn't know. His daughter is a high school mathematics teacher. It is much harder for a student in a "failing" environment to be successful. It can be done! It has been done! To all the teachers reading this blog...continue to run the race are making a difference in the lives of children.

Anonymous said...

Then compare it to the senior writing requirements at Woodward, Lovett, etc

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with a work acquaintance a few years ago. She and her husband took out quite a hefty loan to send her son to Lovett, so that "he could get into any college he wanted to".

Guess what? He is at UGA with those thousands of other public school students.

Anonymous said...

African inventions did not help the Europeans explore the world (there were no significant African technological inventions). Technology from the Muslim world (sails, astrolabe) and China (compass) did. First, educate the teachers. Then worry about the students.

June 28, 2010 11:52 AM

Now there's some misinformation. Much of what we think of as European science and technology came from Islamic and Greek scholars on the continent of Africa. During the so called dark ages Islamic scholars preserved a great body of knowledge which was retransmitted to Europe through Spain which was a Moorish province. Actually most of population of the ancient Muslim world was in Africa. You ought to also read up on the Kemet contributions to science. Try George Sarton’s History of Science. The Egyptians (who were also Africans) made great strides in surveying, geometry, measurement, engineering, and glass technology. Unless I mistook your objection and you really were trying to say that black Africans made no contribution to science? Then your sheet is showing. Many of the Muslims in science were black as were some of the Greeks and Egyptians. Back then skin color wasn’t as important as what you knew and did. Of course as Will Rogers said “It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so.”

Anonymous said...

I've been following NCLB since its beginnings. Texas is where the concept of NCLB came from, and we now see this state rejecting the founding ideas of this educational boondoggle it embraced in the 1990s. George Bush brought this concept of NCLB from Texas and along with Kennedy made it into national mandates.

Texas is a huge state with a large population and thus a very heavy impact on textbook content. When textbooks are developed for Texas, publishers use most of the same material for other states since this makes the publication more economical. There is substantial monetary investment in the writing of the textbooks. That's why there's such an uproar in educational circles as Thomas Jefferson is downplayed and other more obscure historical personages are given prominence.

There has long been a saying that how Texas goes in education, there goes the nation. Of course, this was truer when textbooks were pretty much the only resource teachers and students had. Today the vast resources on the Internet are available to just about everyone. However, textbooks are still important and the central body of curriculum knowledge in the classroom.

I'm sure you hear teachers complain that our curriculum doesn't always match our CRCT's, EOCTs, etc. Well, this is why.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:33 pm

I agree. I have taught so many African-American children who are very interested in the history of Africa. Too often we forget that humans originated in Africa, and from an anthropological standpoint, this continent is what holds the key to so many questions about our species.

If you want to read a great book, read "Germs, Guns and Steel" by Jared Diamond (he won the Pulitzer Prize for this book). He's a Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA. However, he is equally skilled in anthropology and history.

Diamond ties geography, anthropology and history together in a way that is totally unique and powerful to create an increased understanding and respect for all parts of our world.

Written in layman's terms, much of this book deals with the African anthropological and historical experiences versus the European experiences. Totally fascinating, and infinitely readable! I was a history major in college, but I learned so much about Africa as well as European history from this book. My world view was broadened and enriched.

BTW - He also wrote "Collapse" which deals with the causes of the declines of the world's greatest civilizations. Good book as well.

Cerebration said...

For an interesting talk from a mathematician on African fractals and their use in design - check out this video at (beware - this is an addicting website!)

African fractals: Ron Eglash on
"I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof." This is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families while researching the intriguing fractal patterns he noticed in villages across the continent. He talks about his work exploring the rigorous fractal math underpinning African architecture, art and even hair braiding -- and his cool math tools for students. (Recorded June 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. Duration: 16:51.)

Cerebration said...

Here's another quote from Dr. Eglash's presentation -

So let me end with just a few words about applications that we've found for this. And you can go to our website, the applets are all free, they just run in the browser, anybody in the world can use them. The National Science Foundation's "Broadening Participation in Computing" program recently awarded us a grant to make a programmable version of these design tools, so hopefully in three years, anybody'll be able to go on the web and create their own simulations and their own artifacts. We've focused in the US on African-American students as well as Native American and Latino. We've found statistically significant improvement with children using this software in a mathematics class in comparison with a control group that did not have the software. So it's really very successful teaching children they have a heritage that's about mathematics, that it's not just about singing and dancing.

Cerebration said...

Kim, I am bummed that the Tech School at Cross Keys does not have the admin support that DSA does. This is pure politics and (IMO) favoritism.

Sad. I guess it'll be up to us to promote the programs!

Anonymous said...

DSA, KMS, DESA and Wadsworth are like the golden children, the rest of us mere mortals!

Anonymous said...

I love those one-room school stories. My dad attended one when he was young. He completed all of the curriculum for grades 1-8 in 7 years, went on to high school and graduated at the age of 16. He always said that the teacher created groups of students when she taught skills. If you were ready to learn a skill you were in the group. If you needed more help on a skill, you were included in the group. Older students worked with younger students and students collaborated on learning activities. Yes, it is a very different environment than we have in our schools today.

Anonymous said...

WLL SOMEONE PLEASE CORRECT THIS RUMOR: The head career counselor from Technology North who merged with Cross Keys has been retired for several years but continued as head counselor. Retirees may return as classroom teachers but not in other positions unless no other suitable candidate is available. ??????? Is this true?

Cerebration said...

Meeting Notice -


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 8:30am,
Wednesday, June 30, 2010, in the J. David Williamson Board Room, at the
DeKalb County School System's Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center,
Building A, 3770 North Decatur Road, Decatur.

1. Report on SACS Visit
Presented by: Mr. Thomas Bowen, Chair

2. Superintendent's Search
Presented by: Mr. Thomas Bowen, Chair

Check the Meetings and Announcements Page on the right for more info.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is off-topic, but AJC article online says "5 qualify for school board". I know you can qualify up until 7/2/10, but this low # makes me worry! I thought someone was running in district 3??!! Does anyone know if Corey Wilson still plans to run?? PLEASE!! I need someone to vote for!!

Anonymous said...


It was only Monday. Zepora Roberts already has two opponents. Here is the problem, to many candidates makes it easier for an incumbent, in my opinion. To much background noise, so to speak, for one candidate to stand out.

This has been said before, it takes better candidates to make a difference not more of the same.

How a difference could have been made is by having an organized effort to recruit one strong candidate to oppose each of the current board members. However, even this effort wouldn't have guaranteed that other candidates would show up.

Cerebration said...

We've been trying to post the most recent info available on candidates as we find it. Click the ballot box on the right side panel - or just copy and paste this link -

Anonymous said...

I just received this email. I'm not really sure what's up yet, though:

ESEA Public School Choice 2010-2011
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)
Public Community Meetings

Three community meetings will be held to discuss the ESEA Public School Choice plan for the 2010-2011 school year:

Thursday, July 1, 2010 6:00 pm Arabia Mountain High School
6610 Browns Mill Rd. Lithonia, GA 30038

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 6:00 pm
Chamblee High School 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. Chamblee, GA 30341

Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Henderson Middle School 2830 Henderson Mill Rd.
Chamblee, GA 30341

If there are any questions, please contact Dr. Cleophas Jones at 678-676-0381 or Dr. Linda Crowley at 678-676-0309 in the Office of School Improvement

Anonymous said...

These meetings will most likely reveal the choices available for students whose schools have not made AYP for enough years (two or three) to be required to offer transfers or supplemental learning services.

Anonymous said...

Dear CeCe,

On June 30, 2010 the DCSS will lose some excellent staff members. At the end of the day,the 12 month staff members involved in the layoffs will no longer be DCSS staff members. I know that some may say that it really does not matter. I have read many times on this blog that the DCSS is not an employment agency.
Somehow it may have been lost that some of these people were directly or indirectly involved in supporting the schools.
If things go as they go many times, more and more duties are going to be pushed down to the schools. The staff members in the schools in all areas are the ones on the front line. We deal with the parents, students, community and everyone else.
Add this to the paras, and media clerks that have already gone and we are facing a difficult year.
Most of the school based educators that I know are still focused on doing the best for all students.
Fewer planning days, larger classes, no planning days between the sememster, no planning days at the end of the school year, less support from paras and media clerk, less pay and an unending round of bad news in the media.
I have met some very kind and helpful people. These individuals played an instrumental part in the life of the schools. We have loss some excellent people. I wonder how many more we will lose as the year continues.
If you have faith in the power of prayers, please pray for our schools.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that federal intrusion into K-12 education is to blame for the sorry state of education in Georgia. Why are kids in Georgia so far behind those in other states??

Ella Smith said...

I went to a inservice the first of June put on partly by the Georgia School Board Association for candidates interest in running for school board and the information I received from all involved was that GA wants this change.

The good thing about this as a teacher is that we are going away from having different standards in different states and all states are working on the same standards which in my opinion is a good thing.

At this point we are just talking about a few core areas but hopefully this will be extended.

It might make us here in GA have to look at our math curriculum again and see if it is truely working.

This should cut the number of positions needed at the state department of education. I heard that the state department would need fewer employees in one of my last graduate classes. I heard that the state department will eventually have different responsibilities as we go to national standards in all areas.

Cerebration said...

From the AJC editorial pages -

By Cindy Lutenbacher
Amid great fanfare in our state earlier this month, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced the release of the “Common Core Standards.”
So, I have a few questions for those who back the standards — including our own governor, Sonny Perdue, who co-chaired the Governors Association effort. In the general celebration over the release of these new standards, it seems very few people are asking what Common Core Standards will actually mean for our children. And that is a mistake because the Common Core Standards are simply the forerunner to even more (and likely worse) standardized testing.

Why are so few investigating the origin of Common Core, which is largely a creation of Achieve Inc., an outfit that is driven by a dozen or so governors and CEOs of major U.S. corporations?

What do these people know about educating our children? Why would we trust them? Why do we simply accept the claims of “research- and evidence-based” support for the creation of Common Core Standards? Why are we not doing as we were admonished to do during Watergate … that is, to follow the money? Where is this independent research, unattached to corporate monies?

In creating these standards, Achieve, the governors and the school officials ignored the vast body of truly independent research that shows such “standards” and their inextricably linked standardized testing are worse than folly and are sending our children in the exact opposite direction of what they need.

This group of very rich people ignored this body of research that shows that the single most powerful factor in education gaps is poverty and not standardized testing.

Did they forget that the United States has the second highest rate of children in poverty of any industrialized country in the world? In fact, these purveyors of Common Core disregarded everything that at least every great teacher I have ever known believes, says and lives in his/her classroom. What we should be doing in Georgia and the rest of the country is focusing on filling our classrooms with great teachers, rather than with thousands of new standards.

Cerebration said...

Continuing -

We should be supporting our great teachers, rather than driving them from our schools, as will certainly be the outcome of an even greater emphasis on testing. Why does anyone cite the “A Nation at Risk” report in pushing for national standards even though it’s been so thoroughly discredited? Where is the hue and cry over the million dollars that the Gates Foundation gave to the National PTA in order to promote Common Core?

Who appointed Bill Gates Emperor of Education?
Is money being spent, to borrow a Bushism, to “catapult the propaganda”? Or is that last question simply rhetorical?

The architects of these Common Core Standards did not seem to consider all the research that amply demonstrates that having access to a variety of reading materials and having the time and safe space with which to read are the factors that help children become readers.

Instead, the standards rely on the absurd drilling tactics advocated by the politicians and corporations happily taking our tax dollars for their testing and related materials.

Who is really getting the money from turning our schools into Common Core drill-and-kill testing factories? Will Perdue be willing to read the list of literary texts listed in the 183-page Appendix for English Language Arts and allow me to test him on them? Will Perdue even take the 12th-grade exit exams and allow his scores to be made public? Can Perdue explain to me how “Tartuffe,” Euclid’s “Elements,” Paine’s concept of “ground-rent,” and a bivariate polynomial have helped him in governing our state?

And in related news, we learn that Perdue has vetoed the excellent bill that would have saved millions of dollars for our state and, more importantly, released our first- and second-graders from the hideous spectacle of useless standardized testing. Will he be willing to sit in a desk with 30 other governors, who, like hapless 6-year-olds, will be forbidden to speak to one another and must suffer silently as they are endlessly drilled in preparation for the CRCT?

Furthermore, when will Georgia get a state schools superintendent who actually understands children and how they learn, rather than, for example, one who understands politicians and chambers of commerce?

Will the new superintendent be willing to sit obediently through first-grade test prep for Common Core Standards? Is there anyone, anyone, who actually believes that Common Core Standards and its murderous standardized testing will not lead to even more fanatical requirements that cause teachers to have to teach to the test? There’s no evidence that these “standards” will help my children be lifelong learners.

When will we as a state and we as a nation wake up to the destruction of our children that is being carried out under the sanctimonious and specious names of accountability and reform?
And most important of all, for the sake of our kids, when will we revolt?

Cerebration said...

Maureen Downey has an excellent post on the passage of the Common Core Standards today -

Georgia adopts Common Core Standards. Today’s vote met with standing ovation

Here's a snippet -

The faculty of Georgia colleges have reviewed the Common Core standards and gave them high marks, said Board of Regents chair Willis J. Potts. ”

“I commend you for what you are doing here,” said Potts.”It is a major step helping the state of Georgia graduate not only students from your institutions but from mine.”