New Common Core Standards Coming to All Maryland Schools Next Year; “A Sea Change” for K-12 Education

Q. What is the Common Core?
A. “A sea change” for education

New standards known as the “Common Core” are coming to all Maryland schools next year, designed to ensure that future high school graduates are career and college ready. Whether the Common Core will succeed as intended is unknown, even as Harford County Public Schools must prepare to implement the mandated new standards in all grades. New tests will soon follow.

Development of the Common Core State Standards was led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, to create a single set of expectations for what students should learn in grades K – 12. According to the Common Core Web site, the standards are research and evidence based, and informed by practices in top performing countries. Adoption of the standards has been voluntary for the states, with 45 signed on thus far, aided by billions in funding incentives from the federal Race to the Top program.

Among the first in line to adopt the Common Core was the Maryland Board of Education, which approved the standards in 2010. Statewide implementation is set for the 2013-14 school year, via a state-mandated curriculum in math and reading/English/language arts.

Unlike the current state curriculum, which set minimum expectations, the new curriculum will be “clear, focused and rigorous”, said Dr. Susan Brown of HCPS, who is leading the local implementation. Harford County students can expect “increased opportunities for problem solving, increased engagement in complex text, and increased rigor in daily lessons”, she said.

The Harford County Board of Education got a closer look at the Common Core, in a presentation by Dr. Brown and other senior staff at a board meeting on March 11. A link to full presentation, including sample problems, appears below.

Following the presentation, Board Member James Thornton called the Common Core “a sea change” for K-12 education.

In math, rigor shifts to a combination of conceptual understanding (why the math works); fluency in basic skills; and application (solving real life problems and checking to make sure the answer makes sense), said Sarah Morris, HCPS math supervisor.

Responding to a question from Board President Rick Grambo, Morris said that it was not yet known whether HCPS would continue using Everyday Math, a controversial program developed by the University of Chicago. Asked a similar question by The Dagger prior to the Board meeting, Dr. Brown said that Every Day Math would continue “for the immediate future.”

The Common Core also shifts toward informational texts, said Kristine Scarry, HCPS supervisor of reading, English and language arts. The shift in English includes literary non-fiction such as memoirs and historical documents, but Scarry said it will also be seen in classes like science and social studies.

When asked about the relative emphasis on phonics, grammar and cursive handwriting in the Common Core vs. the current curriculum, Dr. Brown provided the following response to The Dagger:

“Phonics is included in the Foundational Skills of the Reading Standards in the Common Core. The foundational skills focus on the ability to know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. Grammar is addressed under the Language Standards of the Common Core.

The Common Core Standards do not specifically address cursive handwriting. The state review of the Common Core identified second grade as the year when students show the ability to produce writing that is legible, including the correct formation of cursive letters.”

Testing…Testing…

Along with the new curriculum will come new tests – and more of them. Currently in development by a multi-state consortium known as “Partnership of Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers” (PARCC), four periodic tests are tentatively planned during the school year, said Superintendent Robert Tomback. The earliest two tests would be diagnostic and therefore useful for teachers, he said. The third test would be equivalent to a mid-term, he said, with a final exam at the end of the year.

The new PARCC tests will eventually replace the Maryland State Assessment (MSA). However, due to a lag between implementation of the new curriculum next year and administration of the PARCC tests a year later, students will take the MSA during the transition; a mismatch that Tomback deemed “awkward.”

Support, With Caveats

Noting that many high school graduates need remedial classes in college, Board Member Thornton asked, “Have we somehow been able to validate that all this is going to work?” Tomback said that won’t be measured until the new tests are administered. Tomback added that the new tests will be more accurate in determining college readiness.

Board Vice President Nancy Reynolds, a former Bel Air principal, lauded the rigor of the new standards and was joined by other Board members, including the student representative, Panashe Mutombo. However, Reynolds said that she was concerned about the additional tests taking time away from teaching.

Board President Rick Grambo, a frequent critic of state and federal mandates, said , “I’m not necessarily sold on the Common Core” but, he praised the staff, telling them, “I know you’re going to maximize the potential of this and be as successful as we possibly can.”

Support, with caveats also came from Ryan Burbey, president of the teachers’ union. Responding via email, Burbey said of the Common Core: “It encourages critical thinking, as well as analytic reading and writing. It deemphasizes teaching of skills in isolation. I don’t really see a drawback except the cost of implementation and adaptation.” However, Burbey said he doesn’t think teachers have had enough training, and budget constraints have limited the school system’s ability to buy necessary materials. Burbey concluded, “This will be a difficult transition.”

On the national front, the Common Core has been the subject of some debate:

To hear from supporters, including educators and organizations representing government, business and parents, the Common Core Web site has assembled an extensive list:

An expert review of the math standards, both pro and con, can be found here, including an insider’s view on the development of the Common Core.

An overarching criticism by former U.S. assistant secretary of education Diane Ravich can be found here. In the following excerpt, she cites a lack of field testing to determine if the Common Core will succeed as intended: “We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time… Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?”

To assist parents in understanding the new standards, National PTA partnered with Common Core experts to create a summary of what students will learn by the end of each grade. The summary is linked on the HCPS Web site and can also be found here.

A link to the March 11th presentation to the School Board can be found here.

Comments

  1. JEH says

    The new standards that will be implemented for next year are a huge change for our kids, as well as teachers. The changes that will happen next year have not given teachers sufficient time to prepare and learn what it is they will need to know to teach the kids. The problem in that teachers, especially elementary teachers do not have the depth of content knowledge that is expected, nor have they been given many opportunities by the county to increase that knowledge. I worry that our kids are going to learn information that is incorrect and develope misconceptions that are practically impossible to dispell.
    The kids are expected to be able to make a change in the way they learn as well over the summer from information being handed to them to learning how to persevere and use intuitional thinking skills to solve problems. BIg changes are coming without a lot preparation and know how of exactly what is coming.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0
    • Kharn says

      A college graduate in elementary education can’t answer questions on k-5 material, yet we’ve been paying them to educate our kids for how many years?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10
      • be serious says

        Once again you exaggerate. If you have real proof present it otherwise your unsupported claims hold true to form.

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        • Kharn says

          JEH said “The problem in that teachers, especially elementary teachers do not have the depth of content knowledge that is expected, nor have they been given many opportunities by the county to increase that knowledge.”

          If you need to “increase [your] knowledge” of K-5 material before teaching common core, what have you been doing since graduation and what good is your college education? Its not like HCPS has kept the teachers chained to their chalkboards, they’re supposed to continue their education to attain that Masters + 30 payband, so I’m a little confused as to what they’ve been doing, and why we’ve been paying them.

          If the common core’s burden is too high for some, maybe we should release them from their contracts and start fresh?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10
          • Cdev says

            Kharn sometimes the problem is not how much you know but how to explain it to someone who knows so little. How you would explain a concept to a 4th grader is not the same way or depth you would give to a 9th grader.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
          • Kharn says

            Cdev:
            If a teacher can’t use the knowledge and skills he already possesses to break it down for a 4th grader, why is he teaching K-5 instead of 9-12?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7
          • Cdev says

            Do you get news the same way you did 20 years ago? No, as you clearly use the internet more readily. Kids do not have the same experiences that they did 10 years ago. Explaining September 11th to a 4th grader 10 years ago was different than explaining it to one this year because of differing experiences. This is why teachers must continue to learn to meet the needs of the kids.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
    • Harford Resident says

      Kids are very resilient. We don’t give them enough credit. They will adapt to the change far better than the average adult will, and move on.

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  2. also a teacher says

    I fear that Common Core will be just the latest fad to be foisted upon our students by the eggheads at the U.S. Department of Education and State Board of Education. Many of the problems facing the education system in the U.S. is that it is constantly being screwed with by people that all to often have spent little or no time in real classrooms, or at least not challenging classrooms where kids don’t always behave property or want to be there.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 25 Thumb down 5
    • Kharn says

      The largest problem is a culture that thinks being a rapper, basketball star or drug dealer is cool, but designing automobiles, flying a plane and solving murders are not cool.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4
  3. K says

    I’ve heard about Common Core for the last couple of years. Did I attend any school board meetings following its progress? No. Until each an every parent and/or citizen involves his/her self with what government is shoving down our throats, we will be subjected to the antics of our elected employees. Think about it folks. If this new curricula is set up so we have continuity from state to state then the whole kit and caboodle is probably geared to the lowest common denominator. Take NYC for example and the 80% of students that can’t read upon graduation, how rigorous is Common Core? I just can’t figure out why there are those in this country that are Hell bent on destroying the intellectual capacity of our youngest members?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
    • JEH says

      You are right about that! We need to change who is makes the decisions for our kids. It should be educators and not legislators and business people with little to no educational training.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
      • Kharn says

        No, it should be educated, responsible, involved parents making decisions about their child’s educational goals and curriculum. In loco parentis is not the ideal situation by a long shot, but its what many are stuck with due to parents too busy with their own lives to be proper parents.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
    • be serious says

      The people making these decisions are at the federal and state level. Until you change those people you can expect only more of the same.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
      • Fed up says

        More indoctrination from the DC elite…now that’s education we can count on! Let’s get the latest guestimate of $$/pupil we’re going to flush down the drain on this little experiment. Are we going to see some more “stretch spelling??” What’s the latest and most useless way to solve a division problem? We are turning ourselves inside out, paying through the nose per student and our overall performance continues to plummet. In business you look at root causes of a problem. In education, the system is the root cause and it cannot be challenged. God help the kids on this latest journey – they’ll need it!

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  4. Doris Whipple says

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18
    • joeAB says

      “is she paying attention or does she have a learning difference?”
      ~what’s a learning difference? Must be the teachers fault…

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      • Kharn says

        Its a polite way for saying the child does not learn the way most students learn.

        Handicapped | handicapable || learning disabled | learning difference

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    • Worried... says

      Tomback wants HCPS’s to be full of young, fresh out of college teachers. He has encouraged principals to get rid of experienced teachers, and I don’t want to hear that it needed to be done. Some did need to go but not the majority. His “plans of assistance” are ensuring that many good, effective, teachers are forced to leave at the whim of his principals. They are given quotas. People need to investigate this. It’s happening.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4
  5. be serious says

    Is it only your child that is failing assessments or are a majority of the others failing as well. Makes a big difference.

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  6. Cathy says

    This common core sounds like something we had in school over 50 years ago. As a 9th grader at North Harford we were introduced to three hours of Core taught to us by the same teacher. We had a test every other day, and because of that we had no final exams. The teacher was stern, and we learned the material.

    The problem with education today is that we need to get the Federal government out of it, and let the states and local communities handle education. Our kids are not learning so there is definitely something wrong. Maybe one of the biggest impediments is that we have teachers’ unions looming over everything. We should get rid of the lousy teachers and reward the good ones. At last count, 80% of the youngsters in New York City need remedial work before they can even enter a community college. Our educational system in this country is failing the children, and we need dramatic change. Let’s bring some discipline back into the schools without fear of lawsuits by the parents or some union action.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 12
    • Because says

      The only fault with that thinking is in the past, the lack of standardized testing has resulted in differences in educational levels between geographic regions of the same nation. Consequently a high school education in New York, in 1980 for instance, carries a far greater level of educational achievement than the state of South Carolina. Yes, that sounds nasty, but if you have any experience moving from state to state you will see this is a reality and colleges that attract students form all over the country are the fist to experience this disparity.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
    • Fed up says

      @Cathy – by the looks of the thumbs down votes on your comment, it’s clear to see that we will never get that discipline back in the classroom. Sadly, it is a critical piece of the learning process and it just doesn’t exist in this country anymore. Seems to me that even on this page, the parents are willing to have the kids do as they want – and failure is not only an option, but the norm when they enter the real world without discipline.

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    • what the hel, man? says

      The high school diploma now means you just showed up for school.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  7. Luther Lingus says

    How about you start teaching these three things:

    Personal Responsibility
    Respect
    Honor

    These are the building blocks of success and they are NOT TAUGHT by many parents or teachers.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2
    • Amy Lindecamp says

      I agree Luther, unfortunately most of the HCPS Administration doesn’t practice these three things. It is this “HCPS core standard” that has made it difficult for the good teachers practice it, much less teach it.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0
    • Climber says

      Personal Responsibility
      Respect
      Honor

      nice character traits to have…. they need to be taught from the age of day one… but many parents expect the school system to do that for them…. or alternatively, when educators hold students responsible for those traits, the parents flip out… believe it or not, EDUCATION STARTS AT HOME!

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  8. K says

    I’m curious why the core of this Dagger debate is teachers versus parents? Common Core is a result of bureaucrats and their desire to control and dismantle. Teachers, at least the many I’ve spoken with, are very concerned about the new curriculum and the effect it will have on our kids. Now, there are also those educators, so to speak, who will sing the praises of any new scatterbrained method(s), as long as their union gives the okay. They are the real problem for our kids.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4
  9. Real Talk says

    The education of our children has become a complex problem, but the only thing people want to do is offer up a simple solution. The real reason why children are failing? Multiple fronts: 1) Advanced technology that leaves traditional learning more and more antiquated every day; 2) A socio-economic climate that has made traditional parenting all but impossible; 3) A breakdown in the value of education, in which teachers are more often slandered for their shortcomings than praised for their successes.

    To address each of these:
    1) Kids are inundated with greater forms of technology, which has completely changed the way their brains are hard-wired. How do you teach a child with a traditional paper/pencil/book combination when they are already adept at using cell phones, email, and computers? More importantly, WHY would you continue to use paper/pencil/book methods? If texting and technology are what they know, TEACH them with what they know!

    2) Due to the economic climate, there has been a shift in what social responsibilites we can actually cover, even in a two-person household! Pretty much gone are the days when we can rely on one parent to stay home and manage the upbringing of children. Both parents now have to work, and even then, sometimes it’s not enough to get someone out of debt. Parental involvement (or lack thereof) is a strong indicator of a student’s success rate. Revamping curriculum won’t necessarily help a student achieve success, but a strong set of parents (two of them, working in harmony) will ALWAYS help a student’s performance in school.

    3) The more teachers are slandered, the more cause they have to need a union. Teachers are far too often criticized for their failures, and not recognized for their brilliance. What happens if you take away a teacher’s representation? What’s to stop teachers from being abused and disrespected? You only need look at the umbrella statements made on the majority of these forums; too many people with the energy to comment are the ones to marginalize teachers (their profession is a joke/glorified babysitters/those who can, do; those who can’t, teach/etc.) If you take away teacher representation, what guarantee would teachers have of actually being respected? Teacher unions are the necessary product of a hostile educational environment; without them, the profession would be destroyed beyond repair.

    Want change? Try these solutions:
    1) Don’t just revamp the curriculum; revamp traditional brick and mortor education entirely.
    2) Put more emphasis on parenting as it relates to a child’s success; why not give tax incentives to those who with children who perform well in school?
    3) Give teachers the respect they deserve. Then and only then will you actually attract the best and most talented to your county.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4
    • Fed up says

      You left out the single most important element – the breakdown of the family (period). The bureaucrats cannot do anything about it and it is taboo to mention without being labelled this or that. Look at the past 40 year history – look at the stats and everything else mentioned on this thread and tie it to the dismantling and disintegration of the family – especially in certain “socio-economic” settings. Look at the school results versus all other indicators whether children will have a good jump on life or if life will be snuffed out of them and they become wards of the state one way or another. So what do we do in education? Throw money at it and hope it helps….has it? With every incremental increase in funding, have we seen a positive result in our children’s education across MD? Is money really the answer? Reading the posts here, it seems real simple – “no.” We do everything to avoid the obvious problems and we bandage it with money – discipline, honor, respect – some common themes that we continue to avoid.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
      • Cdev says

        How do you fix the family problem? Government can’t force families back together and is not meant to do so.

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        • Amy Lindecamp says

          A start would be to not bully families when they try to communicate their concerns to those in charge. Families, regardless of their composition usually know the student and the students needs better than anyone. A start for the school system would be to simply listen, and collaborate with those families and to stop dismisses those families concerns because they are the ones in power!

          Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
          • Amy Lindecamp says

            *dismissing, not dismisses…I’m not a dolt, but I am a little technically challenged, especially with my I phone.

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          • Cdev says

            I am asking as the poster identified the family structure as the problem that is preventing the child from learning so how does one fix that, the broken family?

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        • The Money Tree says

          You quit pretending gay partners, single mothers or any other form of “family” is equal to or just as good as an intact father, mother with children – the way nature and god planned it and that seemed to have worked much better before. You quit pretending that any form of criticism of dress or behavior that’s negative is a form of hate. You quit pretending giving away free stuff – housing, food, clothing, transportation and now phones offers poor families a way out of poverty. You quit pretending that throwing a test out there improves education one iota and you quit protecting bad teachers via the unions, get rid of them and let teachers teach.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10
          • Cdev says

            But the government has been doing that since the 1860′s Obviously that is not the problem.

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          • Artie says

            This is an absurd statement. What kids need are someone who cares for them and is willing to actively support their needs. Whether it is a gay parent, a single parent, or a traditional family, is not especially relevant. My two brothers and I were raised by a single mother. But Mom pushed us hard to succeed, and while raising us went back to school and eventually earned a doctorate in history, going on to a university teaching career. Despite the fact that I attended eleven schools through 10th grade, I earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from a top department and am now on a medical school faculty; and my brothers are both veterinarians, one picking-up a master’s degree in anthropology at Yale along the way.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
        • Fed up says

          But they reward them apart and make everyone feel like that’s just fine – no problem, $50 divorce, etc. etc. Single parent, no problem, raised by a grandparent, no problem. The problem is, parents used to hold kids accountable. No parents, no discipline, no accountability. That’s just one set we’re dealing with – then you have the “overly involved” to the point of stifling children – the litigation crowd that neutered educators years ago. I am a firm believer of the education system simply “doing the right thing.” That means enough of the feel good bologna. The 3Rs and hold’em all to high standards. No dumbing down, no preferential treatment – just teach and have high expectations. You don’t make the grade, you don’t move on. That is all controllable by “the system” yet they moved away from this attitude decades ago.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  10. Amy Lindecamp says

    It really is quite simple….those making the most important decisions for our children’s educational needs are those out of touch with the student/classroom needs. Teachers, parents, and citizens who interact with the students on a daily basis need be heard and LISTENED to, and not muffled by administration. Just because you have fancy letters after your name doesn’t mean you know what educational needs exist, it only means you able to be granted the opportunity to make educational decisions.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0
  11. Bel Air Fed says

    snobbery – we educated elitists know what is best for all – gag. What this all tells me is that we have politicians at the national and state levels calling we the people a bunch of dumbass idots who don’t know how to puch their collective way out of a paper bag. In Maryland it is especially hard to fight back as we live in a dictatorial one party system. God help our teachers and students.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 25 Thumb down 4
  12. F.L. says

    Where’s Doctor Spock on all this? He knew best for “our” kids and the politicians followed. How’d that turn out? What’s wrong with the simple basics? Old school. Believe it done most of us well….? Every time the gov. gets involved, usually winds up being “someone elses” fault and very expensive to correct …..usually a generation.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  13. rj derrick says

    Just another example of the govenment dumbing down kids, to make them grow up dependent on the government. Another socialist program

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
  14. Something to talk about says

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21
    • Amy Lindecamp says

      Something to talk about,

      I agree with one thing you said, Mr. Lindy is awesome. Interesting you feel the need to personally attack me without even having the courage to use a real name. You obviously don’t have a clue of who I am or what I stand for, because I am not a dolt. I am not aspiring to be an administrator, only an advocate for my child.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
  15. ABG says

    “Something to talk about” since you are so well versed on the Urban Dictionary it leads me to believe you are a bit older than you have portrayed by your immature post! So here is what I would say to you if I was battling in this thread with you, which I will put in words you can relate to….”I am rubber and you are glue….whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you….DOLT!!!”

    Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  16. says

    Thankfully, our truck is equipped with extra radiators for towing our camping trailer so it didn’t overheat, but it had a huge loss of power. There is an incredible potpourri of hazardous weather underway or expected in the next 36 hours. His wife has one of the rarest forms of cancer that little is known about it.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
  17. Reggie says

    In my mind, the problem comes from trying to apply the same ideas to each kid. An advanced student has different educational needs as the student who is functioning below grade level. Yet what do we do? We place them in the same classroom and believe that below average students will gain intelligence through osmosis. We need to separate the kids by ability (oh, so non-PC) and let the advanced soar while we give the below average students the skills that they need to close the gap. This will never happen until parents start to understand that not every kid is going to Harvard, though.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0
  18. says

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot
    of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome blog!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  19. says

    Just what we need bigger government telling us how to educate all though it looks more like Indocturinate our children!!! They are doing such a fine job with our country why not just hand over our kids!!! Not me soon as this bullshit starts in Maryland which will be 2014 I will be taking my kids out of public school and homeschooling!! Don’t trust my government with the country must less my kids!!!

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    • Because says

      Backwards backwards backwards. Having been educated in another state and seeing your local execution of public education, I can assure you anything done to improve your schools – and the responsiveness of your local school system would be an improvement. My state had standardized tests to asses not just the competency of the students but to measure the teaching capabilities of its teachers. Be afraid of change all you want. It’s inevitable and you will be left behind for your inability to accept and adapt.

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      • Mike Welsh says

        Because,

        In what forward thinking state were you educated? Is it your opinion that Maryland is way behind the times when it comes to education, or just Harford County?

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        • Because says

          Honestly? Harford County. I have lived in New York, New Jersey and Arizona. My son’s mother lived all her life in Ohio. Let the denigration of anything but Harford County begin – after all, it is the garden spot of the universe when it comes to open mindedness and tolerance

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    • Cdev says

      What specific learning objective in common core is this indoctrination you speak of?

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    • Concerned Teacher says

      No offense intended (although some will probably be taken), but nearly all homeschooled children I have encountered have one or more of the following deficits:

      1) Literary analysis (because although the parents can read, they cannot teach the child how to find and/or make any meaningful connections between literature and the real world);

      2) Math problem solving skills (because although parents can “do math”, this really means “do arithmetic” and crunching numbers is not the same as doing math);

      3) Social awkwardness (because many homeschooled children have an incredibly small amount of time in their young lives spent interacting with others their age); and

      4) Social intolerance (because many homeschool children are homeschooled because their parents have highly intolerant and conservative parents who don’t want their precious kids mingling with the riff raff that attend their local public school).

      Good luck homeschooling your children, and good luck catching them up with their peers when you decide you have had enough of the hard work and bureaucratic nonsense you will have to go through to do so.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
  20. Abington night owl says

    I witnessed One night the past week a very large house cat moving quickly across the northbound lane of 24 just out of the reach of my headlights. Hard to tell exactly what it was. Tonight about a half hour ago I have been hearing screams in the woods. Bobcats to go with the coyotes eh?

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  21. Tammy says

    Common Core….aka “the race to the middle.”

    What this article does not state is that by 2014 the goal of Common Core is to have only 10% of 8th graders taking Algebra I. If an 8th graders does not take Algebra I, they will never get to Calc. by 12th. My daughter has been cyber schooled in PA since 2nd grade. She has taken Pre-Algebra for 2 years, and is now in 8th. Technically, she could have taken Algebra I in 7th if I had requested it, but I thought 2 years of pre-algebra couldn’t hurt. She is now returning to our local public school and they want her in Math 8. She must take a test to get into Algebra I, even though she had 4 semesters with straight A’s in pre-Algebra!! This could get ugly!!

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