What Does Common Core Mean?

Indiana is done with Common Core standards!  That is the news today.

So what does that mean?   What is all this noise about Common Core standards in education?  And how does any of this touch us?

I’m going to try to answer those questions as simplistically as possible.  First, common core standards have been discussed for at least a decade.  The general concept is that state governors decided to help craft a core of educational standards so that students from California had the same basic knowledge as students from Pennsylvania, or Texas, or Idaho.  So far so good, right?  But that is where the problems started because some people saw these standards as a way for states to create workers which is economically responsible from a Governor’s perspective, but not so great for children if they are being tracked and led into programs just because it was easier for states to create workers.

Let’s pretend for a minute.  Let’s say your children are bright and talented, but the only jobs in your state are telemarketing jobs.  Would your students be better served at the state level if they learned basic marketing techniques, or if they learned algebra?

I’ll give you a little time.

Educators were naturally of two minds when it came to questions like this.  A lot of them fought for teaching the child all the necessary steps that would lead someone to be a critical thinker and an avid learner.

It sounds good,  but  we’ve got to ask ourselves what does that really mean?

Local school boards and governments were asking questions like ” How come we are paying so much money without knowing we are effectively training our students to become fully functioning tax paying adults?”

That sounds okay, but what does that mean?

Unfortunately it means we need to start at the beginning, we need to throw out all of our preconceived notions about what children should learn and we need to try to help students learn to think critically rather than spout content.

A lot of folks say children need to learn the three R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic.  I think most teachers would agree.  But the truth is that there is much more expected from students than simply reading and writing and doing math.  And there is a whole lot more expected of successful countries made up of successful students who are also future wage earners.

Can you see why this is a big nut to crack?

For us, we should recognize that common core standards or not, education will continue.  Students will either need remediation classes in college, or they won’t.  Testing will continue to plague students and teachers.  Teachers may teach to tests to keep their jobs.  Your own children may come home with homework you don’t understand.  As a matter of fact, if you contact your child’s teacher they may  not understand why your child has been given that work.  The issues are we are talking about are much bigger than those of your struggling third or fourth grader and that is a shame.

Folks, we have a problem.  The problem will not be solved this school year, nor next, and it probably won’t be solved in the next 20 years.

For current school kids that is way too long.

So what do I suggest?

I suggest we understand the common core standards before we complain about them.  In light of that, I’ve dragged the common core standards in math here.  I’ll also connect my readers to the standards in English.

There are no other standards at this time.  These two subjects were considered to be enough to start with.

Boy that was a lot of work.








ABC Channel 6 Saying More Snow Possible?

Oh my goodness, I have absolutely had it with snow.  And yet, another storm may be headed into our area on Sunday night into Monday morning with ” enough snow to shovel” according to Channel 6.

Who needs more snow?

I need warmth.  I need balmy breezes.  I need spring.

This afternoon I was lucky enough to sit outside for a bit in the sunshine.  I have to say it felt pretty magnificent.

This weekend seems like it won’t be quite as frigid as it has been, so enjoy it as much as you can.





Saint Patrick’s Day Weekend, Be SAFE

I have no idea why people seem to think that St. Patrick’s day and drinking alcohol go hand in hand, but it seems that they do, and so I’d like to follow up on some PA police departments in reminding folks to be extra careful out there driving this weekend if you or friends are imbibing!

Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home.

* Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your keys at home.

* If impaired, call a cab or sober friend or relative to take you home.

* Contact police if seeing any drunk drivers on the road.

* If seeing someone about to drive while impaired, take their keys and make other arrangements to help them get home safely.

Be safe!  Spring is just around the corner and you’ll want to enjoy the sunshine and balmy weather.




Montgomery County Youth With Contagious Illnesss

8-year-old boy has been hospitalized with a meningococcal infection, prompting the Perkiomen Valley School District and Montgomery County Health Department to issue invasive-infection warnings.

The boy, a third grader at Skippack Elementary School, remained hospitalized Wednesday in stable condition, said county spokesman Frank Custer.

Meningococcus can lead to potentially fatal bacterial infections of the blood or meningitis, an inflammation of the brain. The infection is highly contagious and spreads through fluids of the nose or throat.

Anyone who has come in close contact with a meningococcal patient – sharing food or drinks, hugging, kissing, or standing nearby when the patient coughs or sneezes – is advised to begin antibiotics immediately.

Symptoms of meningococcus vary by age and type of infection but may include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills, severe fatigue, joint pain, loss of consciousness, or rash, according to the Health Department.

For questions, please contact a doctor or the Health Department at 610-278-5117. – Jessica Parks
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20140313_Montco_third-grader_suffers_from_contagious_infection.html#XLYVrbuLkqYye1cw.99


PA Voters Support Medical Marijuana

This information is from a poll that Quinipiac University did about potential voters opinions on marijuana in PA.  Take a look and see what you think.

Pennsylvania voters support the legalization of medical marijuana use 85 – 14 percent, with support at 78 percent or higher among every partisan, gender and age group, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Even voters over 65 years old support medical marijuana 84 – 14 percent.
Voters are divided, however, on the legalization of possession of “small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. While 48 percent support legalization of so-called recreational use of marijuana, 49 percent are opposed.
There are wide gender, partisan and age differences:
  • Men support recreational use 55 – 42 percent, while women are opposed 54 – 42 percent;
  • Support is 58 – 39 percent among Democrats and 53 – 44 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 66 – 31 percent;
  • Voters 18 to 29 years old support it 64 – 34 percent, with voters over 65 opposed 66 – 29 percent.
Only 44 percent of Pennsylvania voters, including 49 percent of those 18 to 29 years old, admit that they have tried marijuana.
Marijuana is equally as dangerous as alcohol, 49 percent of Pennsylvania voters say, while 33 percent say it is less dangerous and 15 percent say it is more dangerous.
“Pennsylvanians think overwhelmingly that marijuana is equal to or less dangerous than alcohol, and join the American trend toward tolerance for both medical and recreational use,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Voters are divided on whether marijuana use leads to the use of other drugs as 46 percent say it does and 48 percent say it does not.
Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana use is bad for the state’s national image, Pennsylvania voters say 48 – 35 percent.
If marijuana is legalized in Pennsylvania, 61 percent of voters say it would not bother them if a neighbor grew marijuana in their home. Among voters 18 to 29 years old, 75 percent say they would not be bothered. Among voters over 65 years old, 54 percent would be bothered.
A total of 84 percent of voters say they would be “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” riding in a car driven by someone who has smoked or consumed a moderate amount of marijuana.
“A lot of Pennsylvanians say it’s OK to smoke pot, but they have no interest in driving with you if you do,” Malloy said.