Volume 10 No 1 Fall 2013 
/                                               / 
NC News
Legislators Take On CCSS
Lawsuit Challenges Vouchers
NC Protest Against CCSS

Gov. McCrory: Too Many Tests
Why NC Has Too Many Tests
New Diploma Seals
No More Textbooks
NC's Race To Top Progress
Collingswood Academy
NC Leads Nation in NBCT

National News
Activists Fast for Reform
House Dismantles NCLB

Sec. Duncan On NCLB Rewrite
NCLB Rewrite and ELLs
Feds Tout Biliteracy
Obama's Internet Access Plan
Radio Reaches Latinos
International News
French Protest Use of English
Early Start in English In Japan
Spain's English Boom
World's Learners Need MOOCS
Skills Poor in Canada's Schools

Tips for the ESL Classroom
CCSS and Complex Texts
Pictures Make Learning Harder
Ginger Software
Critical Elements of Flipping

Pesky Prepositons

Current Issues
Health Toll of Immigration
Adult Learners Underserved
Eight Current Teaching Trends
Best Resources for CCSS
Colorin Colorado FB Group

Library of Lesson Plans
Government Resources
Organizations and Programs
Web Resources for Teachers
The Immigrant Paradox
Lationo Kids Need Play Spaces
How to Speak like a Native

New ways in Teaching Writing
Helpin ELLs Meet the CCSS
Dual Language Education

Meet the Staff
Contact Us/Feedback Form

The Common Core State Standards and ELLs

Fueled by a growing public discontent, controversy and confusion have plagued implementation of the Common Core State Standards, prompting heated discourse among educators, parents and legislators both questioning and defending their objectives and effectiveness. Adopted by the North Carolina Board of Education in June, 2012, the Standards have been embraced by 46 states.

This issue of the ESL Globe
takes a look at what educational initiatives the Standards involve, how they affect curricula for English language learners, and how they are viewed by both proponents and critics.

NC Common Core - Explained

North Carolina adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 as its Standard Course of Study for English language arts and mathematics and began implementation statewide in all public schools in the 2012-13 school year.
The standards:

•strengthen academic standards for students;
•were developed by national experts with access to best practices and research from across the nation; and
•allow for a smoother school transition for military students and other students who move during their K-12 schooling.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's website provides a portal for presentations, podcasts, videos and other helpful resources related to the Common Core State Standards.
NC Common Core - Explained

Khan Academy Receives Grant to Develop Common Core Math Courses

Fueled by a $2.2 million grant, Khan Academy will develop online content and tools over the next two years to help teachers and students meet the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.

The popular producer of free online content already has a large volume of practice materials and videos that are "mapped" to the common-core math standards, but with the grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, it will build new diagnostic tools to help better identify gaps in student learning. In addition, the grant will enable Khan Academy-best known for its math instructional videos-to more "deeply cover" the standards.
Read article

Everything You Need to Know About Common Core Testing
According to author Kristen Swanson the days of multiple choice test items are over. The dawn of the Common Core Standards has been coupled with the creation of new assessment methods. The organizations designing these new assessments have committed to test designs that measure critical thinking and original thought. Both assessment consortia have made intentional assessment shifts in their designs. The three assessment shifts are context, rigor, and synthesis. Ms. Swanson take a closer look at each of these ideas and even provides examples of test items.

All three assessment shifts demand that teachers abandon traditional test prep methods. Preparing students for the new Common Core assessments requires thoughtful curriculum design and technology use. She adds: "If every question you ask students has a definitive answer, then you should go back to the drawing board!"
Read article

The English Learners and Common Core Advocacy Toolkit
Advocates and educators who work most closely with English-language learners for the most part agree that the new, rigorous Common Core standards hold promise for this population of students, who too often have been deprived of full access to meaningful, academically-challenging curriculum as schools and districts focused on making sure they acquired English-language skills. But one California research and advocacy group makes a case for the gaps that must be filled, and how to fill them, so that achievement and access to rigorous content don't actually get worse for ELLs in the common-core era.

In a brand-new toolkit, Californians Together outlines a number of concerns it has for the more-than 1 million English-learners in California, where ELLs make up 25 percent of the K-12 enrollment. The group urges educators to become advocates for policy changes and for changes in classroom practice. The toolkit includes specific things educators can question, ask for, and do at their schools, in their districts, and even on a broader level in counties and states, to push for supports for English-learners.
Raise Your Voice on Behalf of English Learners:
The English Learners and Common Core Advocacy Toolkit

ELLs Need More Attention in Common Assessment Groups, Reports Say
The two groups of states working to design new common assessments need to devote more time and attention to English-language learners and students with disabilities, conclude new reviews from the U.S. Department of Education. The reviews on Smarter Balanced and PARCC are available on the Education Department's website.

In its first-ever technical reviews of the test-development efforts underway by two state consortia-the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and Smarter Balanced-the federal education department is calling for both groups to focus more sharply on developing test items that all students, including those who are still learning English, can fully access regardless of their level of language proficiency.
Read article


Four Reasons the Common Core Standards are Losing Popularity
In what could be compared to many education reform initiatives over the years, a once-widely, and quickly, accepted initiative is dividing the education community; begging the question, 'Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) just another flash in education's pan?'

45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS in what was once lauded as a giant step in the right direction in trying to improve student achievement and college- and career-readiness. Yet, many states, policy makers, and educators are saying that though giving the go-ahead was easy, successful implementation planning didn't factor well enough into the decision to adopt, causing problems states are only now beginning to fully comprehend. In this article you'll find the four most widely discussed contentions with CCSS.
Read article

Humanities Committee Supports Common Core, Sounds an Alarm

Humanities Majors, from left: Barack Obama, political science;Mitt Romney, English
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, business
Images from left:Doug Mills/The NY Times; Jonathan Ernst/Reuters; Angel Valentin for The NY Times

The American Academy of Science Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences issued a report clearly endorsing the Common Core State Standards and sounding an alarm vis-a-vis the trend toward de-valuing humanities courses. The report is intended as a rallying cry against the entrenched idea that the humanities and social sciences are luxuries that employment-minded students can ill afford.

People talk about the humanities and social sciences "as if they are a waste of time," said Richard H. Brodhead, the president of Duke University and a co-chairman of the commission that produced the report. "But this facile negativism forgets that many of the country's most successful and creative people had exactly this kind of education."

Read article

Teapartiers Against Common Core

Tea party groups, along with some skeptical liberals, say the Common Core State Standards amount to a federal takeover of education in a country with a long tradition of local control over public schools. These groups over the past few weeks have suddenly and successfully pressured Republican governors to reassess their support for a rare bipartisan initiative backed by President Obama to overhaul the nation's public schools.

"This is the issue that could change things for the tea party movement," said Lee Ann Burkholder, founder of the 9/12 Patriots in York, Pa., which drew 400 people - more than twice the usual turnout - to a recent meeting to discuss agitating against Common Core. Lawmakers have responded by introducing legislation that would at least temporarily block the standards in at least nine states.
Read article

Five Myths about the Standards
Valerie Strauss, education reporter and columnist for The Washington Post, aims to separate fact from fiction to figure out what's at stake.
Read article

ESL Globe Interview Featured in New Book by Collier & Thomas

ESL Globe editors were delighted to grant permission to Drs. Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas to reprint their interview appearing in the Spring 2011 issue. The interview is included in their recently published book, Dual Language Education for a Transformed World. They kindly remarked that they considered the questions very well thought out.

This book makes the case for dual language education to become the standard for all schools. Written for new and veteran implementers, it provides hope, rationale, guidance, and the tools to transform education to 21st century standards.
Read interview