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Yesterday afternoon the BIA gave the Common Core State Standards a ringing endorsement (and here’s the NHBR coverage of the announcement) – announcing unanimous board support. BIA President Jim Roche, said,
“A robust advanced manufacturing and high technology sector is critical to New Hampshire’s future economic success. BIA believes the Common Core is an important part of ensuring our future workforce has the education and skills necessary to fill these high-paying, challenging jobs.”
The New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire’s state-wide chamber of commerce, is the headquarters for the State’s business community. So this could be just the beginning of business support for the State’s education strategy.
And then the Manchester Board of City Schools met last night. The new state educational standards, based on the Common Core State Standards, were at the top of the agenda.
Even without district leadership in implementing the new standards over the last years, individual schools and teachers have rolled out new lesson plans based the standards and begun seeing the results in their classrooms. Nonetheless, Common Core opponents have flooded Manchester – testifying at meetings, leafletting door-to-door – looking for a high profile rejection of the Common Core in the State’s largest school district.
It was teed up for a vote last night. And vote they did.
A teacher’s plea for leadership from the Manchester school board – Selma Naccach-Hoff, English teacher and head of the English department, Manchester High School Central
Here are excerpts (the highlights are mine) from a message sent to the Manchester Board of City Schools by Selma Nacach-Hoff, long-term Manchester educator and now head of the English department at Manchester High School Central:
“Where Do We Go Now?”*
(*Title of an award-winning film addressing how to bridge animosities in Lebanon between Christians and Moslems)
….We’re done with NECAPs in English and Math. We know that there’s some kind of standardized assessment that will take its place. Our students and our teachers will be held responsible. We want to be able to give our teachers the tools to help them move students in the direction that will help these students succeed in whatever they choose to do. But we are floundering. Where do we go? What do we do?
On the high school level, students are assessed based on mastery of competencies. In English (as in all other disciplines) our competencies are rigorous. They’ve always been aligned to state and national standards. Quite frankly, these competencies are basically the same as the new standards….One shift that we do see is a shift towards more informational text, both in writing and reading. And we’re already trying to address that. Another is a greater emphasis on technology, and our district has a comprehensive plan to address that as well.
Here’s the Union Leader coverage of a meeting in Bedford Monday night in which Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry briefed superintendents and school board members on the new Common Core State Standards. It was targeted for disruption by Common Core opponents in fully cry. (more…)
Here’s a September 24 piece on the Common Core debate in Manchester. This is a critical debate because it affects so many children. Notice that the educators who have put the Common Core standards to work in their classrooms (highlights mine) are strongly in favor.
MANCHESTER — The Common Core state standards have been dropped in the lap of the full school board.
The board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee voted Tuesday to send the matter to the full board without a recommendation, after several dozen people spoke against the standards and some school board members echoed some of their concerns.
Approximately 50 people turned out for Tuesday’s meeting. Many of them reiterated objections to the Common Core standards that have been forcefully made at several school board meetings in recent weeks.
The committee has been asked to sign off on curriculum guides developed over the summer by city teachers in order to align teaching in the district with Common Core. District officials have said that Manchester is well behind other districts in adopting the standards; state education officials have indicated that state and federal aid could be jeopardized if the district does not agree to institute the assessment test derived from the standards.