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Are we allowing children to “make up their own meaning?”

Here’s a sentence from a longer comment from “Jane,” a retired “35 year teacher.”  She was commenting on this post about the great teaching going on in Rochester schools:

“Let me remind you that if these children are engaging in constructivist learning they’re making up their own meaning for the text and that is somehow acceptable.”

Jane knew I wouldn’t post her comment and she was right.  It was just too full of bile and insults.  But I do want to address her real point because it is the kind of misunderstanding you hear a lot.

There’s a good discussion of what Jane is talking about in a journal for the folks who develop curriculums for public schools.  The article itself is pretty long, so I’ve pulled out some highlights: (more…)

Rochester teachers Melissa Cunliffe and Sara Cantrell talk about competency based learning and New Hampshire’s new assessment strategy

As one of New Hampshire’s four PACE school districts, Rochester is ground zero for working out the future New Hampshire public education, giving children the opportunity to learn in their own way.  But Rochester’s educators and their leadership are not being shown a new way to teach; they are building new ways for their children to learn, from the ground up.

To see how it’s going, I spent yesterday with the wonderful Maple Street Magnet School principal Robin Brown visiting five schools at every grade level.  I came away amazed at how completely this 4,300 student district and its 346 teachers have committed to their new path. (more…)

What opposition to the Common Core should we expect in the upcoming legislative session?

Two New Hampshire legislators have filed LSRs (“Legislative Service Requests,” place holders for bills) on bills to oppose the Common Core.  Glenn Cordelli has filed LSR 2015-H-0047-L “relative to implementation of college and career readiness standards.”  And Smarter Balanced assessment opponent David Murotake has filed LSR2015-H-0102-L “relative to the implementation of new statewide education annual assessments.”

But after the fight last year, New Hampshire is pretty well established as a firmly Common Core state.  We are over four years in now and New Hampshire teachers and teachers around the country are in strong support. (more…)

Here’s more about why everyone is so interested in how New Hampshire is changing student testing

There was a time when American education policy makers who cared about equity for low-income children, minorities and children with special needs felt that heavy use of standardized tests was the way to ensure that.  So in 2001, Senator Ted Kennedy was glad to join President George W. Bush in passing No Child Left Behind.  Education historian and advocate Diane Ravitch, an Assistant Secretary of Education at the time, said in 2005,

“We should thank President George W. Bush and Congress for passing the No Child Left Behind Act … All this attention and focus is paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents’ generation.”

Now she says, as she did in an recent exchange on her blog, “Why aren’t [education policy makers] looking enviously at Finland, where there is no standardized testing until the end of high school,” going on to say that current discussions of alternatives are”a mass revolt among parents and teachers” against standardized testing, a movement she promotes in almost daily posts. (more…)

Guest post by Michelle Levell, School Choice New Hampshire, opposing Mandatory Universal Preschool

I had an exchange yesterday with THE REAL TEAPARTY(tm) initiated by this tweet:

You can see the rest here.  

I asked THE REAL TEAPARTY to make their case against preK in a form I could post.  Here it is.  I have asked early childhood advocates if they want to respond.  I’ll post what I get.


It turns out the whoever tweeted permission to post this didn’t have the right, or didn’t mean it, or something.  And Michelle Levell wants me to link to it rather than publish it.  Here’s the link: School Choice New Hampshire

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