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Author Archives: Christina Pretorius


Common Core math standards too challenging for little kids? This teacher and early childhood expert says, “Not at all!”

Critics of Common Core often argue that the standards–particularly the math standards–are too challenging and are developmentally inappropriate for children. Indeed, it was the basis of several testimonies to the House and Senate Education Committee when they were considering bills on standards and testing in this legislative session.

But Douglas H. Clements, an expert on early childhood education (holder of the University of Denver’s Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and serves as the Executive Director of the Marsico Institute of Early Learning and Literacy), disagrees.  In an article featured in Preschool Matters, he and his co-authors say that people use the phrase “developmentally appropriate” as a “Rorschach test for whatever a person wants to see or argue against.” (more…)

Extended learning opportunities thrive in Pittsfield

New Hampshire has become a leader in the nation’s education reform efforts, from piloting an innovative assessment program (PACE) to student-centered “extended learning opportunities” where students participate in volunteer work, internships, or independent study in lieu of traditional classroom study. (more…)

New Hampshire testing pilot breaks the federal accountability mold–Clayton Christensen Institute

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation featured an article on NH’s PACE program that, for the first time, begins to reduce the number of standardized tests students must take in their academic careers. The institute’s education research arm works to transform “monolithic, factory-model systems into student-centered designs,” so it is no wonder why they are interested in our innovative testing program. The Institute writes: (more…)

In first, four N.H. school districts shake up testing with Feds’ approval– Christian Science Monitor

Over the past month, New Hampshire has been getting nationwide recognition for a first-in-the-nation pilot program that moves beyond the annual standardized assessment schools have been giving for years. It’s called the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot project. PACE was featured in the Christian Science Monitor as a solution to fears of overtesting, as the program reduces the number of statewide standardized tests administered in elementary and middle school and replaces some of them with locally designed assessments: (more…)

Bill Walker accuses DOE of bullying in UL column, but gets it wrong

Bill Walker, a member of the Republican County Committee in Sullivan County, accused the Department of Education of “bullying” Croydon students in his Union Leader “Another View” column, when in fact, they are merely enforcing the law. (more…)

Manchester continues its anti-assessment push via its letter to parents describing opt-out procedure

The Union Leader reported on the Board of School Committee’s letter to parents explaining how they can pull their children from the statewide assessments in the coming weeks.  (more…)

Embracing Common Core as a building block for state standards: A Florida principal’s experience

In a response letter to a worried New York principal, a high school principal in Ocala, Florida wrote of her state’s enthusiastic adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). (more…)