Monthly Archives: July 2014

Common Core Facts

Standards Are State Efforts

According to information posted on their web page: affirms that Common Core State Standards are an effort to establish clear, world-class educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt.

Promote Critical Thinking

These standards promote critical thinking and applying knowledge – not rote memorization. They are designed to eliminate over-testing, and they will level the testing playing field among states.

Policymakers Choose Participation

It’s up to the state-level policymakers to either join or withdraw from participation in Common Core.

Standards Are Superior

Common Core State Standards are superior to standards currently in use in 39 states in math and 37 states in English.

Not Prepared For College

According to the ACT , 3/4 of students entering college “were not adequately prepared academically” for college courses.

Reading Proficiency Standards

Many states had “reading proficiency standards that would qualify their students as functionally illiterate by international standards.”

Define The Needs Of Students

Common Core State Standards “define what students need to know; they do not define what teachers should teach.”

Get Involved And How You Can Help

The quality of public education should be evaluated from the primary vantage point of the academic achievement of students. Are they learning more? Are more graduating from high school and are they better prepared for the next step in life? And so we ask you to help us support education reform, and continue this progress.

Act Now

Sign up and encourage your neighbors, community leaders, and lawmakers to commit to preparing our children for the challenges ahead.

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Learn The Facts About
Common Core Standards

Common Core Issues

Parents’ Guides to Student Success

The Parents’ Guides to Student Success were developed by teachers, parents and education experts in response to the Common Core State Standards that more than 45 states have adopted.

Guides For K-8

Created for grades K-8 high school English language arts/literacy and mathematics the guides provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade in order to be prepared for college and career.

Parents’ Guides

  • Parents’ Guide to Success Booklet Two-page Parents’ Guides (Color)
  • Four-page Parents’ Guides (BW)
  • Four-page Parents’ Guides (Color)
  • Parents’ Guides to Student Success—Frequently Asked Questions
  • State Education Agencies

Guides Include

Key items children should be learning in English language arts and mathematics in each grade, once Common Core Standards are fully implemented. Activities that parents can do at home to support their child’s learning. Methods for helping parents build stronger relationships with their child’s teacher.

What PTA Can Do

PTA can play a pivotal role in how the standards are put in place at the state and district levels. PTA leaders are encouraged to meet with their school, district and/or state administrators to discuss their plans to implement the standards and how their PTA can support that work.

Share The Guides

The goal is that PTA and education administrators will collaborate on how to share the guides with all of the parents and caregivers in their states or communities, once the Common Core Standards are fully implemented.
For more information please download the following web page:

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

                        Prairie Dogs Help PTA Implement                                Common Core Standards

STEM Education

STEM Education Is A Critical Path To Success

Solomon Menashi spent the first part of his professional life running a highly-successful, high-tech manufacturing firm. For the past 10 years, he’s been working in education — teaching, leading, and learning. He is founder and Executive Director of Mindsurfers, which focuses on building the confidence, skills and enthusiasm of underserved students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math . Solomon holds an Ed.M from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. You can also follow him on Twitter at #mindsurfers.

Front and Center Issues

If you read the newspaper or follow the blogosphere, you cannot help but notice that STEM education is a front-and-center issue these days, a subject resonating in the classroom and the boardroom, as well as in the Oval Office. President Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union Address, declared STEM education a national priority:

Math And Science Education Lags

“The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”

Critical Path Securing Nation’s Future

He also stated that improved investment in STEM education is a critical path to securing our nation’s future: ” …Over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”

Muster Support

With the gauntlet thrown down, the task for all of us who care about education is to muster the support we need to prepare the next generation to effectively and efficiently pursue vital STEM careers — a challenge that will require assistants from many sectors. One key partner willing to help is the business community.

Participated in 2011 Summit

I was fortunate enough to participate in the recent MA STEM Summit 2011 where educators, business leaders, and government officials came together to discuss how collective action can contribute to improve education outcomes. It was a meeting full of terrific ideas and shared commitment, where the tone was set by the keynote speaker Dr. Linda Rosen of Change the Equation.

Many Challenges

In her speech, Dr. Rosen spoke to the many challenges of producing a well-educated workforce capable of thriving in an innovation economy as well as the need to encourage girls and minorities to consider STEM careers. She also spoke to the need for collaboration amongst government, educators and business and the mission of Change the Equation to create broad support for STEM education as an investment in our nation that empowers us all.

Start A Discussion As Educators

Today, there a keen national interest in support STEM learning, and we, as educators, have a real opportunity to make a significant impact on our nation’s future vitality and leadership. Business and government are willing to offer some support, but it is up to the education community to show the way. In the coming weeks, I hope we can start a discussion that highlights programs an initiatives that promote good STEM learning, while also giving voice to innovative and creative efforts by educators who are striving to make a positive impact on America’s future.

Comments And Feedback

I welcome your comments and feedback and for additional information download the following webpage:

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Participate In Critical Path To Success

STEM Education








For Young Voices

Policy Analyst 

Casey Given is a DC-based editor and policy commentator for Young Voices. Previously, Casey worked as a state policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity, where he managed the organization’s labor and education portfolio. His writings on the topics have appeared in Education Week, The Hill, and The Wall Street Journal. Casey holds a rhetoric degree from the University of California, Berkeley and he recently wrote The Great Equalizer: How Online Learning Promises Every Student an Excellent Education

Online Learning

Over the last decade, online learning has brought school choice to new frontiers. Thanks to the Internet, a quality education is a click away for thousands of students who were previously unsatisfied with their brick and mortar public school. Unfortunately, this progress has met with considerable challenges. Several states stubbornly refuse to expand educational freedom online. In fact, many conservative educational reformers are even scaling back their state’s existing online programs, often in the name of preserving “local control” for district school boards.

Past Developments

This policy brief traces online learning’s past developments, present political challenges, and future prospects. It urges innovation in student performance evaluations and state authorization to combat the current deceleration of online learning options. After all, no control is more local than parents choosing the best educational opportunities for their child.

Tearing Down the Walls 

With stagnating test scores and graduation rates, American parents have had a lot of cause to be pessimistic about public schooling over the past half century. Fortunately, a glimmer of hope has started to shine over the past two decades for American school children. School choice has empowered millions of students from low income for failing public schools with access to a high quality education.

Public School Choice

Be it public school choice through charter schools and open enrollment or private school choice through vouchers and tax credits, educational freedom has improved so many youngsters’ lives. To the success of school choice is backed by hard data, too. More than two-thirds of studies after 2001 have concluded that charter school students make similar or significantly better test score gains than their district school companions.

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Unsatisfied With Brick And Mortar 

Public Schools