• “Although many progressive educators decry what they call ‘drill and kill’ (kill students’ love of learning, that is), rapid mental retrieval of basic facts is a prerequisite for doing more complex and more interesting kinds of math. The only way to achieve this ‘automaticity,’ so far as anyone has been able to determine, is to practice. And practice.

Indeed, many experts who have observed the wide gap between the math scores of American and Chinese students on international tests attribute Asian students’ advantage to their schools’ relentless focus on memorizing math facts. Failure to do so can effectively close off the higher realms of mathematics. A study published in the journal Math Cognition found that most errors made by students working on complex math problems were due t a lack of automaticity in basic math facts.”  Annie Murphy Paul, author, journalist, consultant

  • “Stories are especially powerful when narrated by a good reader, someone who brings the story to life, models expressive reading, and shows kids what a book ‘sounds like’ in the voice of someone who reads with passion. But reading aloud is a dying art. Maybe we adults should brush up on our old-school skills.” ~ Dough Lemove, educator and author
  • “We began to realize that 30 years of educational dogma had come home to roost in a painful and very personal way. This is the ideology of public schools in the era of No Child Left Behind. It is one that encourages people to look for and remediate failure, instead of trying to find and nurture success. It is an ideology that promotes the use of jargon (heterogeneous ability groups,” learning styles,” “multiple measures of student effectiveness”) as a substitute for genuine conversation about what kinds of people we want students to be and become. It is an ideology that privileges testing over teaching, a system that makes the beguiling promise that sophisticated instruments (administered incongruously with the oldest technology around–pencil and paper) can tell us everything we need to know about human cognitive ability in just a few hours . . .” ~ David Powell, Gettysburg College
  • “School reform is difficult, standardized tests are imperfect, and there can be legitimate debate about how results are used. We believe that it’s common sense to measure teacher competence in part based on whether their students learn over the course of a year, and one way to measure whether students learn is via standardized tests. Others can disagree. We believe that it’s common sense to measure the most basic skills, reading and math, because so much follows from them. But art, gym, and other subjects are important, too. We believe that well-run schools are proving every day that poor children can learn. But out-of-school challenges–nutrition, healthy, and home support–have to be faced, too. ~ Washington Post editorial
  • “For starters, despite the president’s support of the Common Core, the administration’s No Child Left Behind Act waivers that allow individual states to set moving proficiency targets for struggling students are counter to the standards’ objectives. And although 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, the challenges facing many urban and rural schools that serve large numbers of low-income students make implementation an uphill battle.” ~ Rick Dalton, president/CEO College for Every Student