Under the Common Core State Standards, students will be asked to spend more time learning certain math concepts and will skip others. The idea is to give them a stronger foundation for algebra. (Photo: Sarah Garland)

Are American class periods too short for Common Core?

By Emmanuel Felton

As districts across the country implement Common Core, educators – such as these in Elverson, Pennsylvania, Calistoga, California, and Wilmington, Delaware – are calling for a restructuring of the school day so that students spend more time in each class. Instead of the typical class period of about 45 minutes, schools are lengthening classes to […]

Lori Smith (left) and Heather Hobbs (right), two teacher leaders in the Kingsport City Schools district, participate in a Common Core training session in Kingsport, Tenn.

Tennessee’s Common Core backtrack strands teachers, students

By Lauren Camera

Kingsport, Tenn. – On a hot August day during the first week of school, Heather Hobbs, a 26-year-old teacher at Andrew Johnson Elementary School in Kingsport, Tenn., asked her third-grade class to do something she knew that they wouldn’t be able to do. She handed out two passages, one about Eliza Scidmore, a writer and […]

Lena Dunham attends her "Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned" booksigning session (Rex Features via AP Images)

Can sex ed help Common Core make the grade? What Lena Dunham might say

By Andre Perry

NEW ORLEANS — Education reform minus a comprehensive sex-education platform is an incomplete agenda. What is more “Common Core” than sex and sexuality? But you never hear school leaders demand academic accountability around students’ sexual knowledge. Like it or not, school-aged students are still having sex. We should test what students know. Educators actually could, […]

Stacey Jacobson-Francis works on math homework with her 6 year old daughter Luci Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at their home in Berkeley, Calif. As schools around the U.S. implement national Common Core learning standards, parents trying to help their kids with math homework say that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing has become as complicated as calculus. Stacey Jacobson-Francis, 41, of Berkeley, California, said her daughter’s homework requires her to know four different ways to add. “That is way too much to ask of a first grader. She can’t remember them all, and I don’t know them all, so we just do the best that we can,” she said. (AP Photo)

Common Core math experts say teachers need to stop using shortcuts and math ‘tricks’

By Emmanuel Felton

Think back to your elementary school math classes. Were you told to think of a greater-than sign as Pac-Man or to cross-multiply when dividing fractions? You weren’t alone. Tricks to help kids get the right answers to difficult problems have long been a staple of American math education. But if Common Core supporters have their […]


What makes a good Common Core math question?

By Emmanuel Felton

Both the math and English Common Core standards have their share of critics but it’s math that gets special condemnation, as the new problem worksheets land on kitchen tables across the country. Parents are taking to the Internet to air their frustrations by posting puzzling problems from the new standards. And even writers of the […]

Pittsfield Middle High School English teacher Jenny Wellington observes a student-led discussion. (Photo: Emily Richmond)

Putting students in charge to close the achievement gap

By Emily Richmond

In an 11th-grade English class at Pittsfield Middle High School in rural New Hampshire, Jenny Wellington’s students were gathered in a circle debating Henry David Thoreau’s positions on personal responsibility. “Do you think Thoreau really was about ‘every man for himself’?” asked one 16-year-old boy. “He lived alone in the woods and didn’t want to […]

More teachers are souring on Common Core, finds one survey

By Emmanuel Felton

Fewer teachers are enthusiastic about Common Core implementation and fewer think the new standards will help their students, according to a survey sponsored by education publisher Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The percentage of teachers who are enthusiastic about Common Core – a set of academic guidelines in math and English that […]

A fifth-grader reacts with excitement to her early lead in math specialist Josh Rosen's annual KenKen challenge. (Photo: Pat Wingert)

Are math specialists the answer to teaching better math?

By Pat Wingert

A few years ago, third-grade teacher Laura Metrano considered herself strictly a “language arts person.” “I am a writer and a reader,” she said during a break in her school day at Springhurst Elementary in Dobbs Ferry, New York. As a child, she said, “I was always a very reluctant math student.” As a teacher, […]


Will weak teacher training ruin the Common Core?

By Alexandria Neason

The sprawling second floor of the Sheraton Boston Hotel is swarming with teachers. They’ve traveled from 17 states for the Common Core Now Institute, a two-day conference held by Solution Tree, a for-profit company that specializes in training teachers. The institute is designed to get educators ready to teach the new and contentious Common Core […]

Fourth grade math teacher Adelia Weatherspoon teaches her class Common Core math at Higgins Middle School in McComb.

Cramming for Common Core: one Mississippi school district has to make big changes in limited time

By Kayleigh Skinner

McComb, Miss. – Before school began in this small Mississippi town, teachers at McComb High School and Higgins Middle School received a massive binder full of instructional strategies outlining how to pace their classes. “All of that information seems so overwhelming at first,” recalls Tokie Young-Butler, whose job is to provide resources to teachers. McComb’s […]