I always love a good infographic. They provide a creative glimpse at a topic with some hard data.
The infographic above reflects the progress of school choice movements.
School choice is certainly not a topic that is going away. It has been pushed on the back burner by many lawmakers in various states, but parents are demanding school choice programs. I envision that we will soon see another big push for School Choice and voucher systems.
Only time will tell in which direction are lawmakers will take our schools.
Infographic above courtesy of voiceforschoolchoice.com
Back in January for National School Choice Week, a rally was held at Union Station to promote School Choice.
Check out this article the Chicago Tribune wrote about the rally.
Chicago is in the midst of closing/consolidating over 50 schools before next school year begins. School Choice for parents and students is at a critical point in Chicago. Do we make room for more charter schools? Ultimately, that is what many of the soon-to-be empty public schools will be taken over by. Do we provide opportunities for students to attend private schools? The Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago is one such organization that provides opportunities for inner-city children to attend area Catholic schools. Educational choices are changing and the system needs to start working with parents and schools so as to provide the best opportunities for our children.
I came across two editorials from March of 2011 in USA Today.
The first editorial: Our view: When teachers cheat, don’t blame standardized tests offers an interesting take on ways to deter cheating on standardized tests by both teachers and students.
The second editorial: Opposing view: Address real cause of cheating addresses ways to handle the root cause of cheating.
While both editorials are over two years old, they offer perspectives that are often not heard.
Check out the editorials and let me know what you think.
Take a look at this article from ABC News titled “A Cheating Crisis in America’s Schools.”
I found the article interesting that it offered some valid points and examples of cheating.
I think the idea of cheating as a crisis, however, is a bit far-fetched.
Check out the article for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.
How do we—teachers, students, public at large—define cheating?
Merriam-Webster has several definitions of the word cheat. The one I find most descriptive for an educational setting states, “to violate rules dishonestly.”
Now, this definition could be applied to a whole slew of things that occur in an educational system. How about the fact that there are rules in regards to special education services that my students are supposed to be receiving, and yet, the public school system refuses to act. The system is certainly violating rules dishonestly.
How about the fact that teacher are supposed to be observed a certain number of times per year in order for the administration to properly evaluate a teacher. In the past two years, I have had two observations. Administration certainly knows the rules and is violating them dishonestly.
And, yes, students cheat as well when they violate rules dishonestly. They know they cannot copy someone else’s math homework, and, yet, they continue to do so. They are certainly violating rules dishonestly. On the other hand, students need to be taught about providing citations in their writing in order to avoid plagiarism. Copying and pasting from the Internet is cheating. But if students do not know the rule, then we cannot constitute it as cheating.
Ultimately, how can we expect students to uphold all the rules honestly when there is dishonesty surrounding them?
Ah, cheating. Great topic to discuss, am I right?
Cheating is an easy way out. It allows the person to get the job done and hopefully get it right. Students cheat for this easy out. They don’t want to do the work, they are lazy, they think the assignment is boring or pointless, they see no value in the work, etc.
So how do we prevent cheating?
Providing students with real-world, critical-thinking projects that allow them to produce a project will help to stop the cheating.
I don’t think this is a revolutionary idea. But by getting rid of rote worksheets and multiple-choice tests and providing guidelines for students to showcase their learning through a choice of projects, we can help students to make sense of their own learning and provide them with a real opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of a concept. Students will have a harder time cheating when they need to demonstrate their learning through a Prezi or a video. Students will likely be more engaged as well and excited to show off what they’ve learned and their projects.
How do you prevent cheating in your classroom? Any tips? Leave us a comment!
Since my last post highlighted a few of the positive aspects of the Common Core State Standards, I feel it is only fair that today’s post discusses a few of the negatives of the CCSS.
This aspect of the CCSS was also on my list last week of the positives of the CCSS.
While I do think increased rigor can be beneficial to our students, I am concerned that teachers are being instructed to teach 2 grade levels above the students’ current grade level. In other words, next school year, a fourth-grader should be taught at a 6th grade level. When said 4th grader has not had any instruction in 4th or 5th grade level skills. The previous year when he or she was in 3rd grade, the student was instructed in 3rd grade skills. Does anyone else see the flaw in this logic? I feel like this issue has not been addressed very much!
By the way, compulsory education in Illinois begins at age 7. Yes, seven. So if a student enters school for the first time at age 7 next school year, his first brush with education will be instruction for a 9-year-old! That is late 3rd grade, early 4th grade. Third-grade instruction for what possibly could be the student’s first experience with school! This makes no sense!
Moving on now…
Textbooks will need to be replaced at a more rapid rate to keep up with the new demands of the CCSS. How about whether textbooks will even reflect the CCSS since most textbook companies cater to the great state of Texas, which has not and will never adopt the CCSS.
The standardized assessments for the CCSS do not allow for special education testing. Every student in the school no matter the ability or disability will be tested using the same test and without accommodations for accountability. Please, someone tell me this has changed!
A greater emphasis on the standardized assessments will be felt by teachers, students, and administrators.
A difference in how teaching will occur in the classrooms will be a difficult and painful transition for teachers and students.
—-missing subject areas?
Currently, CCSS exist for only ELA and math. What about the other content areas? It is up to the individual states to come up with the other areas. That should not be. Develop CCSS for all subjects.
The Next Generation science standards are currently under review and will likely be available for adoption by next school year. But they are separate standards from the Common Core and states are not required to adopt them as well.
This transition to the Common Core will be a great and difficult journey. Overall, I think it will benefit most students. However, I think there are some populations of students that will experience even greater frustration in school and experience failure. How will the Common Core meet their needs?
There has been much discussion about the positives and negatives of the Common Core State Standards.Today, I’d like to focus on the positives of the Common Core standards.
- The standards will put the US on the same level as other countries around the world. Our students will be globally competitive which is a critical factor in the 21st century.
- Common standards will allow for students who move from state to state or district to district to not fall behind or lose out on chunks of learning. Since all states will teach to the same standards, students will not miss out on any information if they switch schools.
- Rigor will be increased in the classroom. All students will be held to high expectations.
What are your thoughts? What benefits do you see to the Common Core State Standards?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
In the ongoing quest for continued professional development in the Common Core, I have come across some fantastic resources.
I think one of the fears of teachers that I hear often during professional development on the Common Core is that teachers are afraid they will need to completely overhaul their curriculum and somehow come up with completely new resources to use in the classroom. That mindset is simply not true. Much of what teachers are already doing and using can easily be implemented using the Common Core as the foundation. We certainly will need to rework some things, find some new resources, and have even higher expectations for our students. But, rest assured, a lot of what you are already doing will fit into the Common Core.
All of that introduction is to say that I did come across a new resource I would like to share.
Heather Whetman of HoJo’s Teaching Adventures put together a Google Doc that lists all the 5th grade Common Core Reading Literature standards. She then linked each standard to resources that will help in teaching that standard. While the Doc has not been updated in nearly a year, it does claim that all resources were listed as FREE and working as of 4/26/2012. In perusing the document, I have found that it seems that all the links still link up correctly and offer FREE resources. This is a great resource to download and bookmark for current and future use.
You can clearly see from the list of resources that we already are teaching these concepts—character study, inferences, summarizing, compare/contrast, etc. We just need renew our focus, raise our expectations, and teach well.
Here’s the link again: Common Core Resources
Many school districts across the nation are currently grappling with the beginning stages of the implementation of the Common Core standards. Illinois is certainly among one of the states that has adopted the Common Core standards. However, working in a Catholic school in Illinois has afforded us a little leeway in the adoption of the CCS.
While my school does intend to implement the Common Core standards next school year (2013-2014), Catholic schools across the Archdiocese, at this point, can choose whether or not to adopt the CCS next year or stay with the Illinois State Standards. At my school, we feel that adopting the CCS will allow us to raise our expectations for our students and increase student learning.
We have already attended some in-service training on the CCS. We are preparing this school year by continuing with various trainings and professional development opportunities centered on the Common Core.
I think the adoption of the Common Core standards is, in general, good move for our country and our students. I hope the standards live up to the hype and that we see a full set of standards across disciplines before school starts in the fall (and, ideally, before the end of this school year).
Thoughts? Comments? Leave us a note in the comments section!