Education

Teachers, students settle into Common Core

Posted August 30, 2013
Updated September 6, 2013

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— Despite ongoing political battles over the Common Core educational standards used through much of the country, area teachers say they and their students are settling into a new way of learning.

North Carolina schools are starting their second year using Common Core, which emphasizes giving students the ability to understand reading and math concepts and apply them to the real world.

The goal of the standards, which were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in cooperation with other nonprofits and state leaders, is to raise the bar in the classroom and have consistency from state to state.

"I see a lot more engagement in class," said Laura Shute, a seventh-grade math teacher at East Wake Middle School.

There's a lot of math talk in her class. "It's why is it 20 plus 20? How do you know it's 20? Where does 20 come from? What is that number made up of?"

Students learn the value of teamwork. "I think the biggest difference is collaborating and having to go much deeper into it rather than just giving them notes and you can regurgitate how you do that math," Shute said.

Although Common Core is a national standard, each school district – even each school – can determine how to implement it.

Students, tests Common core reverberates at test time

"Our teachers still have the flexibility to choose what's best for our kids," said Todd Wirt, assistant superintendent for academics for the Wake County Public School System. "The pieces of literature we choose here at East Wake Middle, based on the needs and prior knowledge and that sort of thing, may be different than another school."

Wirt said the conversion to Common Core last year went well, but he cautioned that school assessments may not bear that out.

"We know, historically in North Carolina, when we implement new assessments, we typically see a fairly dramatic dip in performance, and we're expecting that," he said.

Statewide assessment scores under the Common Core standards will be released in October.

"It's a big change, and I think the kids are still getting used to it, but I think, in the long run, it will pay off big time," Shute said.

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  • Danny22 Aug 30, 2013

    The public should vote about common core. It is a federal program that will try to gain control over the school system.

  • Ex-Republican Aug 30, 2013

    "If your child answers the following: 4 x 3 with 11, it will be counted correct as long as the child is able to explain why he thinks it is 11. (This is from another website article.)"

    It's actually been sited in many places as part of a comment from a Grayslake, Ill. school district curriculum coordinator Amanda August. She goes on to say that we want children to be able to explain how they arrived at the answer even if it is wrong. She says, that teachers will of course explain the correct way of finding the answer.

    This appears to me to be re-inventing the wheel. Nothing new here. Teachers should already expect students to understand the how and why of math or any technical subject.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/19/rumor-check-4-x-3-11-did-school-official-really-say-it-doesnt-matter-if-students-get-simple-math-wrong-under-common-core/

  • Roland K. Aug 30, 2013

    retired: you realize that every 11th grader in NC was required to take the ACT, paid for by you and me. When you have a pool that large, yes your numbers go down.

    and the rest of your comment was laden with such great bitterness, that I can't even respond.

  • retiredn42 Aug 30, 2013

    As reported recently elsewhere on WRAL, only 17% of GRADUATES can actually pass the ACT test. We are failing our students at every level with all of the social engineering, "toleration", entitlement and "social justice" they are being fed. Seriously, are they only now figuring out in middle school what "20" really means??? Until we get teachers unafraid to look a parent in the eye and tell them honestly that their Little Johnny isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, and administrators who will back them up, we'll keep lowering the standards as we do with Common Core so that more parents can get the validation they seek through their children of just what great and wonderful parents they are.

  • Roland K. Aug 30, 2013

    we have no idea how it's going to work, how efficacious it will be for our students, and people are already demolishing Common Core with lies and innuendo.

    Give it a chance, people. It's not going to negate the usual attributes of success in America: diligence, creativity, depth of knowledge, and an all-consuming respect for the common good.

  • RockMan Aug 30, 2013

    "If your child answers the following: 4 x 3 with 11, it will be counted correct as long as the child is able to explain why he thinks it is 11. (This is from another website article.)"

    this is not correct.

  • spunkyisbackagain Aug 30, 2013

    Here's what I've read about the Common Core:

    If your child answers the following: 4 x 3 with 11, it will be counted correct as long as the child is able to explain why he thinks it is 11. (This is from another website article.)

    Ahh the dumbing down of America, as if many Americans weren't dumb enough. Most young cashiers already can't make change without the aid of the electronic cash register, this will make it worse.

  • fishmanone Aug 30, 2013

    Common Core is a socialistic form of education partly designed by Bill Ayers, our home growned terrorist!!! North Carolina educators should do away with it now!!!

  • BernsteinIII Aug 30, 2013

    "Common Core, which emphasizes giving students the ability to understand reading and math concepts and apply them to the real world."

    What a joke. Math is relevant to math and other disciplines. Only an Education Major would come up with "Common Core" as opposed to what has worked for ages, Algebra, Geometry or Calculus.

    And people wonder why American students are so uneducated.

    Clearly it is because those creating school curriculum should be digging ditches and staying out of education.

  • archmaker Aug 30, 2013

    if you are in the military, you can appreciate a little state-to-state consistency. I saw my brother get his 7th grade math notebook from new york out of the closet when he realized that he was learning the same thing in his 9th grade north carolina math class.