Indiana

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Year In Review: The 10 Most Commented-Upon Posts Of 2013

Parents say homework and workbooks aligned to the Common Core don't look like traditional math.

Parents say homework and workbooks aligned to the Common Core don't look like traditional math.

Our post on how the Common Core is changing math instruction triggered a lively debate about the best way to teach Indiana’s youngest students — so lively, in fact, we recapped it here.

“We assume that just because WE can get the right answers that this qualifies us to teach mathematics (even at the earlier levels),” says commenter Denise Lew. Not so, she writes:

However, I also believe that the problem is no so much which program we are using, but rather that most educators — parents and most teachers alike — don’t really understand the nature of what it means to understand mathematics and how to really teach it.

Just implementing Common Core does not ensure that children will make significant improvement in their learning. The teaching of mathematics WELL is actually much more complex and difficult than most parents and teachers know.

Here’s a look back at the StateImpact posts that generated the most discussion in 2013.

(Keeping our comments policy in mind, we tried to highlight remarks that were interesting, insightful and represented the diverse viewpoints of our readers.)

  1. How The Common Core Is Changing Math Instruction For Indiana’s Youngest Students — “I’m a high school math teacher who definitely feels like this is just one more iteration of education PhD’s who want to throw out methods that have worked for hundreds of years in favor of the newest ‘fad,’” writes whild. “I’m a common core skeptic who wants to see the evidence – but I am open to learning some good new ways to teach math… this sounds like a productive discussion of what really works. I’m willing to wait & see what ‘new’ ideas are out there.”
  2. Former state superintendent Tony Bennett speaks with media on his last day in office.

    Former state superintendent Tony Bennett speaks with media on his last day in office.

    Journal Gazette Publishes Bennett Emails Showing His ‘Dislike’ Of Ritz — “As a parent of children in public schools in Indiana, I find it newsworthy that Bennett was breaking the rules in the same way he accused teachers of doing during the campaign,” writes Jennifer Livesay. “(By the way, I never heard anything pro-Ritz from any of my kids’ teachers. I arrived at my support for Glenda Ritz by looking around at the mess Bennett was making of things.)”

  3. Tensions Apparent On State Board As Ritz Holds Firm To Posted Agenda — “The board members were out of order here. Motions may be entertained during old and new business, but not during reports,” writes Ann Heintzelman. “Moreover, they need to be willing to communicate with the chair to request agenda items BEFORE the agenda is publicly posted.”
  4. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks in Gary in 2011.

    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks in Gary in 2011.

    Duncan: We Should Keep Online Testing, But We Should Learn From ISTEP+ Failures — “He’s so detached about the whole thing,” writes Sandra Hawk. “Like today’s schools, students, teachers, and staff are guinea pigs in an laboratory for evolving truly 21st century education where scientific methods will rule the day.”

  5. Bennett Stands By Decision To Boost Indy Charter School’s Grade — “I don’t necessarily think the motive was to keep DeHaan happy so she would keep the money flowing to the GOP, but the system WAS manipulated to make sure that charter schools looked like ‘the solution’ that the ed reform movement had proclaimed them to be,” writes Karynb9. “Either way, it’s shameful.”
  6. Why So Many Teachers Still Hate Their Jobs Now — “The majority of teachers love their job, but many also wish to leave. They love their subjects and they love their students. I rarely hear teachers complain about their actual job,” writes A View Through My Eyes. “Most people hate their job for the same reasons that I left IPS. The pressure from policy makers and the ever increasing expectations with an ever decreasing level of resources.”
  7. State superintendent Glenda Ritz's case against the State Board went before a Marion County judge Tuesday, Nov. 5.

    State superintendent Glenda Ritz's case against the State Board went before a Marion County judge Tuesday, Nov. 5.

    Judge Throws Out Glenda Ritz’s Lawsuit Against The State Board — “Huge loss for Ritz. The lawsuit was a foolish move on the part of Ritz and to have it thrown on on such a basic aspect is extremely damaging,” writes Jorfer88. “At the very least, combined with her voucher lawsuit, it allows her to be portrayed as sue-happy and at worst, it indicates an inadequate knowledge of education law. This is just the kind of ammo that her detractors need to support them undermining and sidestepping her, which has already begun.”

  8. Why Gov. Pence Wants Indiana Schools To Receive A-F Grades This Year — “There should never have been ‘anomalies’ in the formula,” writes Bilgewater. “The formula should’ve been easily understood, given numerous test runs, and tested again with real data. And it should’ve been so transparent that anyone possessing the formula and spreadsheet software could’ve duplicated the results on their own computer.”
  9. Core Question: Does Copyright Mean States Can’t Change The Common Core? — “The state has resources, including many very good public universities. Why doesn’t the state say ‘thank you’ for the Common Core groundwork, remove the publishers from the equation, and write their own freely-licensed textbooks and exams?” writes Berin Greenbear. “Why pay McGraw-Hill or Peterson money to do something that the State of Indiana can do quite easily on it’s own?”
  10. The Common Core standards may mean a shift in math instruction in the early grades.

    The Common Core standards may mean a shift in math instruction in the early grades.

    Should Teachers Count Off When Students Don’t Show Work? — “The process is important and the ISTEP+ Applied Skills test calls for students to show work. Having said that good teachers differentiate and should enrich those students having true mastery and plenty of experience with modeling,” writes Reaction from a Consultant. “This is not a Common Core State Standard issue but more of a methods issue. Many things are being blamed on the new standards that have more to do with textbooks and teacher presentation than they do with the new CCSS.”

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