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Morning Read: Parents Find Common Core a Mystery

LA School Report | September 23, 2013

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In Push For ‘Common’ Standards, Many Parents Left Uneducated
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states’ support. Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they’ve never even heard of the Common Core. NPR

State constitutional measure binds schools to open meetings
School districts and local government agencies will forever be required to provide meeting notices and documents to the public if voters agree this June to add that provision to California’s Constitution. But responsibility for the mandate’s costs – estimated as much as $20 million annually – would no longer belong to the state, which now reimburses local agencies who submit claims for these so-called unfunded mandates. SI&A Cabinet Report

New focus on school climate in massive student survey
The California Healthy Kids Survey – a massive survey of student behavior and a key resource for schools – has unveiled extensive revisions that put a stronger focus on students’ emotional health. The change reflects a growing interest among educators in school climate, a broad term that includes whether students and teachers feel supported and engaged, both socially and academically. EdSource

Do American public schools really stink? Maybe not
The drumbeat is hard to miss: Our schools are failing. Public education is in crisis. Our students are falling further and further behind. The rhetoric comes from the left and right, from educators and politicians and lobbyists and CEOs and even Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The deep dysfunction of our public schools is said to threaten not only America’s economy but also its national security. Politico

New research supports teacher intern effectiveness, sparking more debate
Alternatively-trained teachers can help fill staffing shortages without reducing student achievement, according to recent findings from dual studies evaluating the effectiveness of educators from unconventional programs. While an analysis of the two studies found that students of secondary math teachers from highly-selective alternative programs outperformed their peers who were taught by teachers trained in traditional programs, few other differences came to light. SI&A Cabinet Report

Youngest kid, smartest kid? 
When the Harvard sociologist Hilary Levey Friedman was expecting her first child, one thing worried her: her due date, January 3rd. It was uncomfortably close to January 1st, an often-used age cutoff for enrollment in academics and sports. “I was determined to keep him in until after January 1st,” she said. And if the baby came early? “I actively thought about redshirting,” she said. Given the choice, she wanted him to be the oldest kid in his class, not the youngest. Redshirting is the practice of holding a child back for an extra year before the start of kindergarten, named for the red jersey worn in intra-team scrimmages by college athletes kept out of competition for a year. The New Yorker

Education tech start-ups: No longer the ‘sleepy’ crowd
Ben Levy, a former Teach For America teacher, showed off eduCanon, an interactive video program that aims to eliminate the classroom “zone-out effect.” Monica Brady-Myerov, a former public radio reporter, introduced Listen Edition, classroom lessons that use public radio to teach the National Governors Association’s Common Core standards. Dee Kanejiya, a speech recognition researcher, demonstrated Cognii, a program that uses speech recognition to guide students to answer complex questions. And they all were aiming to do something truly innovative: make education beneficial to students and profitable to investors. Christian Science Monitor

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