Common Core and Illinois Schools

chisueSeptember 12, 2013

Common Core standards testing shows big drops Illinois students' scores.

An editorial in today's Chicago Tribune says that in 2012 state officials said 82% of public school students were achieving well in math, reading and science.

After the testing standards were tightened, the 2013 score is 62%. The 2014 tests will be even tougher.

There's much more, but the closing paragraphs got my attention.

Of every 100 students entering ninth grade, only 76 graduate HS. Of those, only 42 go to college. Of those, only 20 earn a degree.

Unsurprisingly, Illinois has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation.

(Sorry, no link. I read a paper newspaper.)

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So are these reduced scores a reflection that students were not learning as much as they should have in the past and that previous scores were misleading?

And if so, that Common Core standards are actually higher than previous standards?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:42AM
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esh -- I believe the tests are getting more difficult -- not just that teachers need to learn to teach to a new test.

In advance of the tougher tests, our DIL's principal set her a goal of achieving about 40% passing grades for her 8th Grade math students. She had 68% pass. This was considered quite an achievement. DIL teaches in a CPS on the northwest side of the city. (Can't help wondering how much lower the scores would have been had she been in her old school in the inner city.)

It seems unfair for the Tribune to say 'the schools' did poorly.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:39PM
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chisue: "(Can't help wondering how much lower the scores would have been had she been in her old school in the inner city.) "

And just what do you mean by that? Come on, where is everyone?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:06PM
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october -- In her old school in Englewood, the most brilliant teachers in the world cannot help most of the students achieve. DIL was lucky to have one or two students with supportive family in any given year. Englewood is the gang banging hell-hole you read about as "Chicago"; 500 gun deaths in 2012.

"Everybody" will be learning about their own local schools' failures soon enough -- as the Common Core tests demand more.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:20PM
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New York's scores were pretty bad too, as I recall. It's worth remembering that the CC tests are quite different from the rote memory tests given for years, and there has got to be a learning curve, so to speak.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 7:40PM
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DIL was lucky to have one or two students with supportive family in any given year

And that from what I've read is one of the biggest problems with today's schools.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to fix that?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Believe it or not, Kentucky was the first state to test for common core curriculum, followed by New York. Our scores plummeted significantly, which was expected.

Kids who were distinguished became proficient, kids who were proficient became apprentice, in many cases. After testing for a couple of years, the scores should rebound (hopefully) as they learn the new material. We will receive our results in the next 30 days.

My son will be applying to a STEM magnet for middle school so he must be a minimum of proficient in all categories, write an essay, maintain a B average and get recommendations. Yes, I said middle school.

So much pressure for the students and subsequently, the parents. Or, perhaps, the other way around.

No, I don't know how to correct societal problems.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:27AM
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With the advent of common core here, there is a distinct shift in teaching - I'm seeing far more emphasis on actual thinking, composing an original response to some tough question, and not memorization.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:40AM
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My suggestion for kids with no 'raising' homes is to offer publicly funded boarding schools. We are already feeding inner city kids two meals a day and sending them out on a Friday with some 'rations' to see them through until breakfast on a Monday. We could take the current 'dole' of food and monetary aid to women with children to fund the boarding schools. (Might even cut down on the women with children in need of aid!)

Parents or guardians would have to agree to rules about visitation, and it would have to be possible to cut kids who fail to follow rules. I'm talking about a *voluntary* program -- and *schools* -- not orphanages. This needs to start with lower grades. You aren't going to succeed with kids in junior high who are already in the mindset of The Streets.

There are enough adults who do hope to see their children succeed to make this work as a start-up. Eventually, as those left behind see their peers moving on, in lives outside the ghetto, more could be interested in enrolling.

DIL teaches junior high math. I'm not sure how the Common Core changes apply to that more easily measured subject.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:06AM
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How wonderful, david!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Here is one such boarding school in Louisville. However, it is quite expensive to board and educate the kids who are selected. Still, I would prefer to pay on the front end than the back (welfare, prison). We all know prison is for profit.

Here is page one:

Bradon Adams grew up in the Iroquois Homes housing project with a single mother struggling to make ends meet. They moved frequently because of money problems, and by fifth grade, heâÂÂd attended four elementary schools.

Determined not to let Bradon be dragged down by the negative forces surrounding him, his mother in 2010 enrolled Bradon in sixth grade at the West End School, KentuckyâÂÂs only free urban boarding school for boys.

Living in a dorm, his 14-hour days were filled with classwork ranging from science to French, athletics, evening tutoring, chores and lessons on table manners. There were trips to colleges, museums, baseball games and summer school. Phones, TV shows and video games were banned, and lights out came at 9:30 p.m.

Today, the 14-year-old is on a new trajectory, earning a financial award of more than $61,000 to attend high school at the private Walden School in Louisville.

âÂÂHis vocabulary, the way he speaks, his motivation and the discipline �" everything has changed,â said his mother, Tonia Adams.

Eight years after Robert Blair, the former headmaster of the private Kentucky Country Day, started the West End School with three boys, it has grown without public funding to serve 24 middle school boys this year �" largely black, low-income students whose educations are at risk because of poverty, troubled neighborhoods or incarcerated parents.

To date, all 18 boys who completed eighth grade have gone on to top private and public schools, earning more than $2 million in financial awards, Blair said.

With funding from charities, in-kind donations and a constant flow of volunteers, the dorms are expanding, a new âÂÂDarrell Griffith Athletic Centerâ is planned and the school is adding a first grade to its preschool and kindergarten program, with plans for a non-residential elementary school within a few years.

âÂÂItâÂÂs not rocket science,â said Blair, known as âÂÂMr. Bâ at the Chickasaw neighborhood school, where he lives with his wife, Debbie, and acts as principal, teacher, counselor and mentor. âÂÂIt works because you immerse them in a culture of learning, character and discipline, you put them in a safe and stable place, and you extend the academic day and year.âÂÂ

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:18AM
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And the cost of supporting or funding such boarding schools goes to... ?

Or is this just another way to segregate the rich from the poor?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Did you see this part:

"With funding from charities, in-kind donations and a constant flow of volunteers"

I'm not sure what you mean Jodik. This takes motivated students out of a rough environment and gives them a chance to succeed academically. Some of them go on to earn scholarships. What's not to like?

What's not to like?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Boarding schools, love this idea. It's great for the "volunteer" parents.

It really is an ophanage, but with a huge focus on education. A focus on becoming a self-sufficient, successful, proud member of the human race.

Do you know how many kids there are in just in Chicago who need this kind of thing? Any kids taken from abusive parents should go into a place like this.

An old neighbor of mine, and his brother, grew up in an ophanage. His parents were too poor to keep them. He had no complaints about the orphanage. He said they were good to him and he was probably better off having grew up there. He was still in touch with his mother. He didn't hold any ill feelings towards her at all.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 6:36AM
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I don't see it as an orphanage. For one thing, the kids have contact with parent(s).

The founder was making big bucks as headmaster at a fancy shmancy private school and then decided to change lives.

Changing just a few lives at a time but a few is better than none.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Thanks for the great example, Redsox. This is like my vision to turn around the valuable kids we are now writing off and 'warehousing'. Yes, it is also cheaper for the taxpayer in the long run!

October -- How could we get something like this going in Chicago? It has to be voluntary. It needs to be publicly funded. It has to be able to kick out kids and/or parents who will not get with the program. It has to start 'em young.

Would it be hard to find capable people willing to face vetting to become 'house parents'? (We know the public loves to place blame, and the image of Dickens' orphanages is still with us.)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:03PM
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You start by recruiting a headmaster from a fancy shmancy private school. One who has a heart and a vision. Then you "reach out" to PR departments at major corporations based in Chicago.

Then instead of warehousing kids, you find a warehouse. Get Ikea to donate some bunkbeds. Get some retired teachers in there.

Business plan!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 2:00PM
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My community paper had a letter to the editor that was a response to an earlier letter praising Common Core principles. Today's letter was a "beware" letter, talking about how the federal government was pushing itself into state territory and how one of the Language Arts textbooks for first graders "could be a college level text on social indoctrination. Children are taught how to use words that create fear or anger to obtain goals."

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:56PM
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chisue - Why did I think you live in Canada?

Are you just yanking my chain here?

If I had won that powerball jackpot, I'd start on something like this tomorrow. Today. Right now.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:24PM
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