Why CCSS-M Grades K-3 is developmentally appropriate and internationally competitive

1. The CCSS-M development process drew on teachers and experts in early childhood math education. 

 According to Jason Zimba, a lead CCSS-M author, feedback was obtained from state directors, elementary teachers, and national experts (Fact Sheet, Student Achievement Partners. The NCR’s 2009 report,Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity was used. The National Association for the Education of Young Children in conjunction with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in States issued a joint statement publicly expressing their support for the Standards.

The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum

Much of the concern about CCSS relates to two areas–curriculum and assessment–and not to the standards themselves. Please note: The Common Core State Standards are NOT a curriculum. The curriculum must be developed by those responsible for instruction. This might include collaborative efforts by State Departments of Education and school district personnel.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Teachers discussing assessment in preschool

I sat down with a group of prekindergarten educators in New York City recently to talk about how they assess how their students are doing. The conversation began slowly. A few mentioned that they feel overwhelmed by the many different assessments they are asked to use; others noted how they feel pressure to be sure that these assessments show that their kids are ready for kindergarten.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Parents just don’t understand . . .and for good reason!

As a state policy maker, early childhood professional, and elected school board member in my home district, I participate in many discussions about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). While it would be easy to go into educator or policy mode in addressing some of these questions, those perspectives dissipate and become subservient to my lens as a father of an 8-year-old girl.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Collaboration and complexity

Concern: The standards are complex and extensive, and there is little guidance for teachers to implement them in Kindergarten classrooms.

On the one hand, yes, the standards are “complex” in the sense that they are communicated in a complicated document that represents high-level goals for student learning. Furthermore, they do not prescribe how a teacher should actually teach each standard, which speaks to the issue of little guidance.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

The good, the bad, and the solution

Literacy instruction may become limited to a few texts and drill-and-kill teaching.

There are two issues embedded in this concern: (1) drill/didactic literacy teaching and (2) too few texts.

With respect to the concern about drill-and-kill teaching, we believe: That teachers should teach literacy in kindergarten.

The CCSS propose a list of specific English/Language Arts concepts and skills that kindergartners should learn (and therefore teachers should teach).

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

The CCSS don’t say we should exclude the play

The first responses addressing concerns about CCSS in early childhood education are from Kathleen A. Paciga, Columbia College Chicago; Jessica L. Hoffman, Winton Woods City School District; and William H. Teale, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Rigorous standards may lead to reduced play and rich activity in preschool and Kindergarten classrooms.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Top concerns about Common Core State Standards in early childhood education

There’s been lots of discussion about the Common Core State Standards recently, and their impact on classroom activity and child outcomes. Common Core is a major policy initiative to reform K-12 classroom practices, raise expectations and implement a new generation of assessments (at least in grades 3 and up), so it has major implications for Kindergarten-3rd grade (and early childhood education) teachers, children, and parents. It must be examined critically and debated. As we know, even if the policy is sound, implementation matters.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Developing P-3 Guidelines in New Jersey: Collaboration and Communication

As part of an ongoing series of interviews with leaders in early childhood education, CEELO spoke with Vincent Costanza, Executive Director, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge at the New Jersey Department of Education, about the process of developing guidelines for Preschool-to-Grade 3 program implementation and best practice in New Jersey. They will provide guidance to school districts, private providers, and local Head Start agencies on planning and implementing high-quality programs for children, with alignment through the early elementary grades, and with NJ Teaching and Learning Standards.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Time well spent: Principals as early learning community leaders

Former principal Sue Maguire from Molly Stark Elementary School in Bennington, Vermont, told her teachers she expected only two things of them–excellent teaching and a welcoming school environment. With these expectations and the recognition that kindergarten was too late for some children, this leader reached beyond the school walls to embrace early childhood.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.