In 2010, state after state took a remarkable—and unprecedented—step: They adopted common academic standards. Once the dust had settled the following year, 46 states and the District of Columbia had signed on to the Common Core State Standards.
In 2010, state after state took a remarkable—and unprecedented—step: They adopted common academic standards. Once the dust had settled the following year, 46 states and the District of Columbia had signed on to the Common Core State Standards.
Of course, adopting the K-12 standards for English/language arts and mathematics was only the beginning of this new chapter in the annals of American education. The real heavy lift has been the work since that time to implement them: training educators, developing and using new curricular materials that reflect the standards, helping parents and the public understand the changes, and devising a new generation of assessments, among other things.
On the testing front, two state consortia—fueled by some $360 million in federal aid—set out to devise aligned assessments. Early on, the vast majority of states appeared on track to use those exams.
But the story has gotten a lot more complicated amid a wave of intense pushback to the common standards and assessments. In fact, several states have taken steps to rescind their prior adoption of the standards and replace them, including Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. A few other states, meanwhile, such as Missouri, North Carolina, and Tennessee, have set in motion processes to review and revise the standards. What this action really means is still only starting to become clear. Even in Indiana, for instance, the substitute standards approved by the state bear a striking resemblance to the Common Core, by most accounts.
The biggest shift so far has been on the Common Core assessment front. The early vision of a uniform system of tests across the nation has given way to a fractured landscape. Only about half of the states now plan to use common assessments from the two state testing coalitions, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The rest have headed in all different directions. (Of course, even having half the states use the PARCC or Smarter Balanced exams is a big shift from the longstanding tradition of different tests in each state.)
The Focus of the Standards
So, what’s different about the Common Core? The architects of the standards say they are intended to define the knowledge and skills students need to graduate from high school college- and career-ready. On the Common Core State Standards website, this is defined more precisely as being “prepared to succeed in entry-level careers, introductory academic college courses, and workforce training programs.” For both English and math, the standards provide detailed, grade-by-grade expectations for knowledge and skills, although in math, there are no grade specifications for high school.
The “key shifts” in the English standards include regular practice with complex texts and their academic language; using evidence from texts to analyze and make claims; and building knowledge through “content-rich” nonfiction. The standards call for literacy to not simply be the province of English/language arts teachers, but also of instructors who teach science, social studies, and other subjects. The standards also place a premium on writing instruction, an area often neglected in classrooms, with a focus on ensuring that student writing is pegged to textual details and evidence.
In math, hallmarks of the Common Core include a greater focus on studying fewer topics in greater depth, increased “coherence” to better connect learning across math topics and grade levels, and three dimensions of rigor: conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and the application of math knowledge. These changes mean a shift in the grade levels at which some content is introduced, pushing aside other topics altogether to achieve greater depth.
Also, separate from the content standards are a set of eight standards for “mathematical practice” for students to show their understanding, from making sense of problems to reasoning abstractly and constructing viable arguments. In addition, the Common Core envisions that all students should at least progress to the level of math typically found in an Algebra 2 course.
The standards have drawn some criticism over content matters. For example, one complaint is that the English standards will lead schools to overemphasize nonfiction and crowd out time for literature. Meanwhile, some have suggested the math standards fall short of the rigor expected by some of the nation’s best prior state standards.
But what’s been especially striking is that so much of the criticism has not been about what the standards say, but rather, how they were developed or how they are being implemented. Some complain there was inadequate public input, and that the development process lacked sufficient transparency.
Perhaps the biggest concern is a belief that the federal government played an inappropriate role in pressuring states to adopt the standards. Although the U.S. Department of Education was not involved in developing the Common Core, it did create federal incentives for states to adopt “college and career ready” standards. And the easiest way to meet this was by adopting the Common Core, which most states did in rapid succession.
And certainly, the vast sum the Education Department supplied for the two state consortia to develop assessments has been a point of consternation in some quarters. Meanwhile, the standards have come under fire from some teachers’ unions for what they see as a rushed implementation and the effort to link teacher evaluations to the forthcoming Common Core exams.
Who Wrote the Standards?
The idea of developing common standards in the United States has roots that go back decades (including a failed effort in the 1990s), but the actual plan to create this set of standards was launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. With major financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the two Washington-based groups invited state leaders to take part in developing the standards.
The standards were crafted by writing teams and feedback panels that included college professors, state curriculum specialists, and K-12 teachers as well as representatives from testing organizations such as the College Board and ACT Inc., and the Washington-based research and advocacy group Achieve. The standards were subject to two sets of public comment before being published in final form.
Looking ahead, big questions loom for this grand experiment with common standards and assessments. Check out some questions to consider. You can also keep up with developments on the Latest News section of our site.
Finally, when questions arise about the standards and what they actually say, there’s no substitute for reading them yourself.
A New Mexico judge has rejected a closely-watched challenge made against one of the nation’s two main common-core testing consortia, in a major victory for supporters of the ambitious assessment effort led by a coalition of states.
District court Judge Sarah M. Singleton, in a decision filed this week, found that the American Institutes for Research lacked proper legal standing to appeal a decision by the states belonging to the consortium, PARCC, to award an enormously lucrative contract to Pearson.
Just one week after Ohio dropped the Common Core-aligned PARCC test, the dominoes began to fall in Massachusetts.
As Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester came under fire for his chairmanship of the PARCC Governing Board, the group End Common Core launched a ballot initiative to stop Common Core in Massachusetts.
The case against the test is building, as teachers and parents across the state await the decision from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on whether Massachusetts will adopt it.
In an early glimpse of how much tougher state tests could be in the Common Core era, a new federal report released in July shows that early adopters of the controversial standards are assessing their students with a far higher degree of difficulty.
In response to the new Common Core standards, textbook publishers touted new editions they said were aligned to the Common Core. But nearly all of them were just repackaged versions of earlier books.
And even five years later, the vast majority of textbooks say they’re aligned with the Common Core when they actually aren’t, creating a huge burden for teachers whose performance is often tied to their students’ test scores based on those standards.
Just about every presidential campaign produces a memorable line and the 2000 campaign was no exception. Ending “the soft bigotry of low expectations” was then candidate George W. Bush’s rallying cry for education reform. Two years later came No Child Left Behind, and soon after that came the complaints from critics: it was too rigid, too punitive, and above all, it relied on too much testing. Now, a bipartisan group in Congress is set to replace the law — but will the changes make the grade? On Point: What’s next for No Child Left Behind.
For the first time since 2001, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday began debating a bill that would overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—though the fireworks are yet to come.
Day One of the likely two-week-long federal K-12 debate was more ceremonial than anything, with the bill’s co-authors, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., thanking each other for their hard work and dedication to preserving the bipartisan aspect of the measure to rewrite the law’s current version, the No Child Left Behind Act.
This summer, Vacation Bible School instructors at Midwest Church of Christ took a somewhat different tactic in teaching about Noah’s Ark and the Gospel: They aligned their lessons to Common Core standards.
It’s a move seen increasingly at Vacation Bible School and Bible study classes in Louisville and surrounding areas.
Ohio is the latest state to back away from common assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards. In the face of strong political opposition to the tests (and apparently a lot of criticism from educators and parents), Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a budget bill last week that effectively prevents Ohio from using the PARCC exams in the future.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state’s new test provider isn’t immune from the glitches that drove out PARCC and Pearson Inc., the company handling tests for PARCC.
State Superintendent Dick Ross announced Wednesday that the American Institutes for Research will take over the state’s math and English tests next year, while continuing to provide the new science and social studies exams it handled this just-completed school year
Ohio became the latest state to pull out of the PARCC Common Core testing consortium tonight after months of angry complaints about the new online tests having too many technology glitches and of eating up far too much learning time for students.
In signing the state’s two-year budget bill tonight, Gov. John Kasich agreed with leaders of the Ohio House and Senate that PARCC’s math and English exams cannot continue in Ohio.
Five years into the implementation of Common Core, standards meant to steer students from rote memorization toward critical thinking, 45 percent of school districts reported “major problems” finding good aligned textbooks, and another 45 percent reported “minor problems,” an October survey by the Center of Education Policy found.
“The need for standards-aligned curricula is undoubtedly the most cited implementation challenge for states, districts and schools,” said a May report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The new academic standards known as the Common Core emphasize critical thinking, complex problem-solving and writing skills, and put less stock in rote learning and memorization. So the standardized tests given in most states this year required fewer multiple choice questions and far more writing on topics like this one posed to elementary school students: Read a passage from a novel written in the first person, and a poem written in the third person, and describe how the poem might change if it were written in the first person.__But the results are not necessarily judged by teachers.
June 23, 2015Shaina Cavazos of Chalkbeat Indiana for EWA
Usually, the best way to learn about a test is to just take it yourself.
Or at least that was the thinking at the recent Education Writers Association National Seminar session, “Testing, Testing: Trying Out New Assessments.” Journalists were greeted by a thick packet of test questions created for the two national assessment consortia that put together exams aligned to the Common Core State Standards — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
June 23, 2015Jessica Trufant of The Patriot Ledger for EWA
Negative reactions to the Common Core State Standards capture the headlines, but many teachers in the trenches of education reform say the standards are here so they have to implement them one way or another.
It’s the way that school administrators and politicians interpret the Common Core standards that some teachers feel is creating a sense of apprehension for their colleagues, students and parents.
Being uprooted is part of the deal for military families, whose children move an average of six times between kindergarten and high school. DoDEA (pronounced “doe-dee-ah”) is in the midst of a massive overhaul of its academic programs, a shift its leaders hope will both raise standards for students and ease some of the academic upheaval that can come with frequently changing schools. And, like many traditional public school districts across the country, DoDEA is asking itself a tough question: How do we know if our students are actually being prepared for college and careers?
The 648 districts with complete data available had an average opt-out rate of 28 percent (the rates are averaged across the math and ELA tests). But weighting each district by its enrollment shows that an estimated 21 percent of all students at these districts opted out. The difference between these numbers implies that larger districts tend to have lower opt-out rates.
A Louisiana appeals court Wednesday upheld a judge’s ruling that barred Gov. Bobby Jindal from suspending testing contracts tied to Louisiana’s use of the Common Core education standards.
A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal said Jindal’s attempt to halt the testing contracts was an “unconstitutional interference” with the education department and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE.
June 16, 2015Amelia Pak-Harvey of The Lowell Sun for EWA
Five years after the Common Core standards were completed, how have educational publishers responded? Where are schools turning for instructional materials? And what’s the best way to gauge whether a textbook is truly aligned with the new math and English/language arts standards. These were among the questions tackled by a panel of experts at the recent Education Writers Association seminar in Chicago.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan school board is rethinking how it deals with students who opt out of state tests. The board is scrapping a controversial proposal to remove kids from magnet schools if they opt out of state tests. An online petition protesting that move got more than 700 signatures.
June 11, 2015Lauren Foreman of the Bakersfield Californian for EWA
Urban education leaders crammed a marathon of Chicago’s public education woes and wonders into a 45-minute session (more akin to a 5K race) at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar in Chicago.
Sara Ray Stoelinga, the director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, joined colleague Timothy Knowles for a breakfast panel titled “10 Lessons to Take Home From Chicago” at the EWA event.
From state legislatures to the presidential campaign, the Common Core has drawn considerable political attention, and criticism, this year. But what steps have policymakers actually taken to cut ties to the new standards and aligned tests, and what are the practical implications for states and school districts?
June 10, 2015Janis Mara of the Marin Independent-Journal for EWA
This academic year marks a critical juncture for the Common Core, as most states started testing students on the standards for the first time. The beginning has had some rough moments, with thousands of students opting out of the tests, especially in New York and New Jersey, and technology glitches in some states disrupting the assessments.
Teachers from Chicago, New York, and Arizona offer their views on how Common Core State Standards and assessments are playing out in the classroom and how their schools and districts have – and haven’t – changed practice.
While a good portion of the country is still debating the merits of the Common Core standards, one New England school district is moving beyond the controversy. By implementing new strategies under which education professionals will marry Common Core and “student-centered learning,” Windsor Locks Public Schools, which adopted the Core standards two years ago, is now pushing the educational envelope even further by seeking to have their students earn diplomas on the basis of competency alone.
South Carolina was one of three states last year—along with Indiana and Oklahoma—to require a replacement for the Common Core State Standards, amid a volatile political climate and challenges states have faced in implementing the standards. The transition is about to be complete for South Carolina: Its new math and English/language arts standards, developed by a team of in-state educators and adopted by the state school board in March, go into effect in the 2015-16 school year.
Standardized testing has loomed larger on the education beat this school year than ever before, as most states rolled out new assessments pegged to the Common Core. How did the assessments really go? What’s the state of the testing backlash?
Missouri public school children spent untold hours this spring prepping for a new computer-based standardized test. It required written essays, details to back up answers, and raised concerns that such a drastic change could overstress kids and lead to lackluster results.
Seven years ago, when Erica Bohrer, a first-grade teacher from Long Island, New York, started selling her lesson plans on the website Teachers Pay Teachers, she just wanted to make a few extra bucks here and there. Item on the site, a kind of Etsy for educators, go for an average of $3.50.
Good decision. To date, Bohrer’s sample classroom decorations, reading comprehension cards, and lesson plans have earned her nearly $450,000—and she now makes more money each year on the site than as a full-time classroom teacher.
As school districts wrap up administering new online assessments aligned with the Common Core, educators now face another challenge: how best to share with millions of parents how their children fared on the tests.
At stake is whether parents – and by extension students themselves – will be able to understand what the scores on the new tests mean. Without that understanding, test scores on the new online tests could raise anxieties among both parents and students, including whether students are being adequately prepared for the next grade, college and the workplace.
Almost from the outset, we’ve been warned that the implementation of new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards would be a bumpy road. But now that the first major wave of the testing is wrapping up, it’s a good time to take a step back and assess the situation.
Did districts conquer the expected challenges of the necessary technology upgrades? How many parents really did pull their kids out of testing? Where did things go better than anyone had predicted? And what’s up next on the testing beat? (Test scores, of course.)
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sought — and received — advice from Jeb Bush about how to deal with Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s concerns about Common Core, emails obtained by BuzzFeed News show.
Bush advised Duncan that Scott, “fearful of the rebellion” brewing around the program, “[w]ants to stop using the term common core but keep the standards,” but couldn’t name “specifics [sic] things that the federal government is doing or perceived to be doing” that he found objectionable.
Ranked near the very bottom of most lists of school performance and near the very top of most rankings of child poverty, New Mexico has gone further than most states in its embrace of high-profile education reforms. The state has linked the new Common Core standards with new exams and ramped up the stakes for teachers and schools, making it an extreme test case for a set of ideas promoted by education reformers, including the Obama administration.
In the face of rising opposition to testing, the PARCC consortium has decided to carve 90 minutes off its 10- to 11-hour-long assessment, and shift the start of testing to later in the school year. The redesign of the test was approved Wednesday in a unanimous phone-conference vote by the board of governors of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. Eleven states and the District of Columbia belong to the consortium, which created tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Yosef Abuharus is sick of explaining it all. The ninth-grader at Smoky Hill High School just wants to move on to the next question. He doesn’t want to construct a math problem, figure out the answer, then be told to destroy what he built and pick through the remains so his teacher can understand how he got there. “Teachers will tell you, ‘I want to know what you’re thinking,’ ” he says. “Well, when the question is like, ‘Four times four,’ my thinking is, ‘four times four.’ I don’t like the extra work, the extra pressure.”
May 22, 2015Lillian Mongeau of The Hechinger Report for EWA
The phrase “Common Core test” turns out to encompass far more than most people realize.
At the Education Writers Association’s spring seminar in Denver on covering assessments in the era of the new standards, it became clear to reporters that there is no such thing as “The Test.” Rather, there are many tests, developed by different organizations all purporting to be aligned with the new Common Core State Standards.
You don’t need a comprehensive No Child Left Behind waiver to get a reprieve from some of the law’s accountability requirements. Five non-waiver states, including California, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Washington are all transitioning to new tests aligned to the Common Core standards. So all five states applied for, and will be allowed to, “pause” their school rating systems this school year. That theoretically means an ‘A’ school could bomb the new state tests without having to worry about getting bumped down to the ‘C’ level
It’s the middle of spring testing season, and a bevy of accountants, technology geeks, lawyers, unemployed corporate executives—and oh, yes, teachers—are scoring the PARCC exam. The room has the generic feel of any high-volume office operation: Seated in front of laptop computers at long beige tables, the scorers could be processing insurance claims. Instead, they’re pivotal players in the biggest and most controversial student-assessment project in history: the grading of new, federally funded common-core assessments in English/language arts and mathematics.
California has reason to cheer—and jeer—at the U.S. Department of Education this week. Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent, and Mike Kirst, the state board president, received a letter Tuesday with some good news for its education officials: California will be allowed to hit the pause button on its school rating system.
Sometime in the coming weeks, millions of California families will begin receiving report cards in the mail aimed at describing how their children did this spring on new statewide testing tied to the Common Core.
Unlike any communication of student performance before, these reports are intended to reflect a much more robust explanation of student performance by using bands of scoring to explain whether a child has met an achievement standard or fallen short.
May 18, 2015Alexander RussoColumbia Journalism Review
“Something big is happening in New Jersey,” PBS NewsHour special correspondent John Merrow intones ominously at the start of last week’s NewsHour segment on standardized testingin New Jersey and elsewhere. “It’s happening in Newark … . It’s happening in Montclair … . And it’s happening in the state capital.”
The “something big,” according to PBS and other media outlets, is growing grassroots resistance among parents and students to a new set of tests being administered nationwide for the first time.
Tennessee’s six-month-long public review of the Common Core State Standards garnered more than 131,000 reviews of various academic benchmarks — with more than half favoring K-12 standards currently in place, according to numbers released this week by the State Board of Education. In all, 2,262 Tennesseans participated in the online review conducted between Nov. 6 and April 30. Participants were given opportunity to say “keep it,” “remove it” or “replace it” as they reviewed up to 2,000 standards for math and English.
One Republican lawmaker called it a “pathway out of PARCC.” The multistate testing effort, which began in Colorado this spring, has its share of supporters and critics. But doubts and questions surround the pilot program, including whether students in participating districts will have to take state tests and endure double-testing while the districts prove their mettle.
The state’s first dive into online testing has been a relatively smooth transition, with few of the major technology hiccups many expected. But the launch of the tough new exam has raised concerns about the amount of time it’s taking some students to finish key sections of the test. The amount of time is concerning teachers because it’s taxing students, cutting into teaching time and disrupting schedules.
May 14, 2015Julia O'DonoghueNew Orleans Times-Picayune
Common Core supporters and opponents are both claiming victory over a legislative compromise on the controversial academic standards Wednesday (May 13.) Common Core backers say the agreement — hatched by a small group of lawmakers — won’t get rid of the state standards they support. Common Core could stay in place, under the three pieces of legislation that make up the compromise. At the very least, Common Core will be used through the end of the year, they claim.
A deal worked out by several lawmakers in the Louisiana legislature would leave the Common Core State Standards in place, give the state school board the authority to develop new standards, and give state lawmakers and the governor the prerogative to reject standards proposed by the state board.__According to a fact sheet distributed by the Louisiana education department, the agreement worked out by legislators would also require the state to use an assessment, beginning in 2015-16, in which only a minority of questions can come from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College a
AUGUSTA, Maine — Students, teachers and Common Core opponents on Monday lashed out against the state’s new standardized tests, and they called on lawmakers to eliminate the tests, the standards or both and start fresh.
During a lengthy series of public hearings, the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee heard testimony regarding a series of bills focused on testing, educational standards and proficiency requirements.
May 11, 2015Christine Armario and Sally HoAssociated Press
NEW CUYAMA, Calif. (AP) — Nestled between mountains 60 miles from the nearest city, students at Cuyama Valley High School use Internet connections about one-tenth the minimum speed recommended for the modern U.S. classroom.
So when it came time to administer the new Common Core-aligned tests online, the district of 240 students in a valley of California oil fields and sugar beet farms faced a challenge.
Reading a picture book aloud from her armchair, 20 children gathered on the rug at her feet, kindergarten teacher Jamie Landahl is carrying on a practice that’s been a cornerstone of early-literacy instruction for decades. But if you listen closely, you’ll see that this is not the read-aloud of your childhood. Something new and very different is going on here.
May 11, 2015Caroline PorterThe Wall Street Journal
TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Common Core education standards have become a lightning rod in many of the states where they have been rolled out. But that controversy has largely avoided the place where they have been in effect the longest.
The push by activists of various stripes to have parents opt students out of state exams this spring has transformed skepticism and long-running anger over the direction of education policy into a movement with numbers and a growing public profile.
ALBANY—The chairs of the Legislature’s education committees have introduced legislation that would make significant changes to the state’s education law and policies, including amending how the Board of Regents is elected and requiring education officials to revisit their decision to adopt the Common Core standards.
The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, a Queens Democrat, would also delay implementation of a new teacher evaluation system that was included in the recent state budget.
Despite glitches, the state’s new Common Core-aligned assessment test is not taking nearly as long to finish as state officials estimated.
Students in schools across the Gem State have been taking the Idaho Standards Achievement Test by Smarter Balanced for the first time this month. About two-thirds of them have finished the test with three weeks remaining before the May 22 deadline.
State officials are finding the testing time is shorter than originally estimated.
April 30, 2015Amanda PaulsonChristian Science Monitor
For a segment of parents fed up with the growing numbers of tests and the increasingly high stakes placed on their scores, “opting out” is now the popular form of protest. And in certain states and communities, the movement is gaining steam, with large percentages of parents and students sitting out required exams. With schools required by current federal law to test at least 95 percent of their populations, the burgeoning opt-out numbers raise the possibility of federal sanctions.
American eighth graders continue to demonstrate lackluster knowledge and skills when asked basic questions about U.S. history, geography, and civics, with between 18 and 27 percent of students scoring proficient or higher, new data show.
April 29, 2015 Lillian Mongeau, Emmanuel Felton and Sarah ButrymowiczThe Hechinger Report
It turns out that the stakes for this spring’s Common Core-aligned tests are not quite as high as they might seem.
The Hechinger Report surveyed the District of Columbia and all 44 states* that have adopted the Common Core and will be administering a Common Core-aligned test this spring to find out how they plan to use test scores. We found that very few states will be using this spring’s scores for any student-related decisions. And the stakes for teachers are only slightly higher.
April 27, 2015Eric Gorski of the Denver Post for EWA
For teacher Merlinda Maldonado’s sixth graders at Hill Middle School in Denver, it’s not necessarily about getting the answer right. It’s not about memorizing procedures, either. If Maldonado’s classroom is clicking, frustration can be a good thing.
This spring marks the debut of online assessments aligned to the Common Core, and so far the rollout has been uneven as many states struggle with technical logistics.
EWA public editor Emily Richmond talks with education reporter Charlie Boss of the Columbus Dispatch about how Ohio’s districts, schools, teachers and students are adjusting to the demands of the new standards and tests.
Rolling Stone retracted its story that supposedly detailed a University of Virginia student’s brutal rape by several members of a campus fraternity, and a report by the Columbia University Journalism School called the debacle “a journalistic failure.”
The higher education community doesn’t even agree on a definition of “college ready” — except to acknowledge that it likely means something different at Stanford than it does at Pellissippi State Community College.
March 5, 2015Emmanuel Felton of Hechinger Report for EWA
Fiery anti-Common Core campaign rhetoric hasn’t translated into many victories for those seeking to repeal the standards. Legislators in 19 states introduced bills to repeal the Common Core this session. So far none has succeeded. Repeal bills in even the reddest states – states like Mississippi, Arizona, and both Dakotas – have failed to make it to governors’ desks this year.
Learn more about their strategies for bringing the rollout of the standards to life, from covering debates over textbooks to the special challenges for rural school districts and how to creatively cover the math Common Core.
It’s no secret that the standards and forthcoming tests have drawn increasingly strong criticism over the past year. Why has the Common Core become so controversial? What do the midterm election results mean for implementation and state support? And what happens in states that have called for a review or even rescinded the standards?
This school year marks the first time that most states will test students on the Common Core. At the same time, many states have backed away from their plans to use shared assessments and are choosing their own tests. Where do the states stand? How different will their new exams be from prior tests? And what are key questions reporters should keep in mind as they cover the first round of test results?
Things are getting messy in Oklahoma, where a prolonged battle over the Common Core State Standards has widened to include an effort by lawmakers to block students from participating in Advanced Placement classes.
We’ve finally got a complete answer to the question: What tests are states administering this spring?
Last May, EdWeek asked all states and the District of Columbia to provide details of their testing plans for 2014-15. You might recall that we saw a good deal of fragmentation and uncertainty then. Seventeen states reported plans to use Smarter Balanced, nine states and D.C. said they would be giving PARCC, and 17 had made plans to use tests built by other vendors. Seven hadn’t decided yet what they were doing.
February 4, 2015Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer for EWA
Against the backdrop of state and national political wrangling over the Common Core, former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue — an early champion of the standards — joined one of the state’s leading critics of the initiative, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, at an EWA seminar to discuss the past and future of the new academic benchmarks. (Watch a video of the session here.)
January 23, 2015Sonja Isger of the Palm Beach Post for EWA
When education analyst Maria Ferguson looks at data from across the country, she sees record-setting confidence levels among school district leaders that the Common Core State Standards are more rigorous than what states had in place before. At the same time, Ferguson told reporters at a recent Education Writers Association seminar, these new expectations are barreling down on educators faster than they are able to prepare.
EWA was in Chapel Hill, N.C. earlier this week for our seminar on covering assessments in the era of the Common Core State Standards. We heard from policymakers, elected officials, and educators about how new expectations are reshaping the business of schooling, particularly in southern states.
There’s a busy year ahead on the schools beat – I talked to reporters, policy analysts and educators to put together a cheat sheet to a few of the stories you can expect to be on the front burner in the coming months:
When you write a blog, the end of the year seems to require looking back and looking ahead. Today I’m going to tackle the former with a sampling of some of the year’s top stories from the K-12 and higher education beats. I’ll save the latter for early next week when the final sluggish clouds of 2014 have been swept away, and a bright new sky awaits us in 2015. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)
This school year marks the first time that most states will test students on the Common Core. At the same time, many states have backed away from their plans to use shared assessments and are choosing their own tests. Where do the states stand? How different will their new exams be from prior tests? And what are key questions reporters should keep in mind as they cover the first round of test results?
The Hechinger Report and NPR Education are diving deeply into the Common Core. Learn more about their strategies for bringing the rollout of the standards to life, from covering debates over textbooks to the challenge of better preparing teachers and figuring out what makes a good Common Core math problem.
Educators talk about their experiences on the ground with the Common Core standards and a researcher shares insights from a study of how new math standards are changing teaching and learning in the classroom.
Lots of recent surveys have sought to gauge support by educators and the public for the standards and testing. Learn what the sometimes conflicting results reveal. And find out where district-level implementation of the Common Core stands, based on extensive national polling of school district officials.
Maria Ferguson, Center on Education Policy
Diane Stark Rentner, Center on Education Policy
Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association (moderator)
December 19, 2014Emmanuel FeltonThe Hechinger Report
Last month’s election spells trouble for the Common Core State Standards, a set of expectations for what students should know in English and math by the end of each grade. With the standards increasingly being assailed as an unwanted federal intrusion into public education by conservatives, the Republican sweep of state legislatures – the party is now in control of over two-thirds of state lawmaking bodies – will likely lead to a new round of scrutiny of the standards and the tests tied to them.
It’s no secret that the standards and forthcoming tests have drawn increasingly strong criticism over the past year. Why has the Common Core become so controversial? What will the midterm election results mean for implementation and state support? And what happens in states that call for a review or even rescind the standards? Will much really change?
This academic year marks a critical juncture for the Common Core, as most states gear up to assess students on the shared standards for the first time. Are states, districts, and schools ready? What about states that are reviewing or have rescinded the standards? How can reporters make sense of it all? There’s no shortage of compelling angles to pursue in this complex and fast-evolving story—rendered all the more so by the political tussles erupting over the new standards and tests.
November 24, 2014Nicholas Garcia of Chalkbeat Colorado for EWA
For education reporters looking for story ideas, talking to teachers is a smart place to start. That was the key takeaway from the “Performance and Perceptions: Taking the Pulse of the Profession” session at EWA’s recent seminar on the teaching profession, held last month in Detroit.
Here’s a counter-intuitive argument: The United States should spend more money on standardized tests.
With opposition to the new Common Core State Standards and the assessments linked to them reaching a fever pitch, advocating for better tests seems like an unpopular proposition. But what if U.S. students took fewer tests that measured their ability to understand academic concepts far more deeply than current tests permit?
How can assessments get beyond rote memorization and capture the skills most valued to prepare young people for college and the workforce? Can tests effectively measure critical thinking and creativity? Will standardized tests tied to the Common Core provide a richer picture of student learning?
Every time a new Common Core poll is released, a lot of people rush to find out what’s the state of public opinion on the standards. Or maybe to find out if teachers like the standards more or less than last year.
One recent survey, however, didn’t even pose the “popularity” question. Instead, it focused on wonky-sounding topics: “Curriculum and professional development.” But stay with me for a moment. This stuff matters — a lot.
As detailed in this report, part of a series of special reports by Education Week that identify and explore high-priority issues in schools, the common standards for math differ from most previous state standards in significant ways. They are fewer in number, connect more broadly across grade levels, and emphasize conceptual understanding along with the procedural skills that schools have traditionally taught.
In a new Gallup survey of teachers, U.S. public school teachers are closely split in their overall reaction to the Common Core State Standards: 41% view the program positively and 44% negatively. Even in terms of strong reactions, teachers’ attitudes are divided, with 15% saying their perceptions of the initiative are “very positive” and 16% saying “very negative.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been a staunch defender of the Common Core, this week announced that the Volunteer State will launch a review of the standards, including inviting public input on what specifically should be changed. This decision appears to represent a big shift for the Republican governor, who last spring spoke before a packed ballroom at the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar with a message of staying the course on the standards for English/language arts and mathematics in the face of political resistance.
Amid the strong and growing drumbeat of complaints about overtesting at the K-12 level, many education reporters and others may be left wondering how much time students really spend taking standardized tests. And who is demanding most of this testing, anyway? The federal government? States? Local districts?
Despite the perception that federally mandated state testing is the root of the issue, districts require more tests than states. Students across all grade spans take more district tests than state assessments. Students in K-2 are tested three times as much on district exams as state exams, and high school students are tested twice as much on district exams. Click here for study.
District superintendents are increasingly confident in the potential of the Common Core State Standards to help improve student learning even as the school leaders question whether there’s enough time and resources for a smooth implementation, a new survey finds.
October 8, 2014Diane Stark Rentner and Nancy KoberCenter on Education Policy
This report, based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of school districts in Common Core-adopting states, examines school districts’ efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The report addresses district leaders’ views on the rigor of the CCSS and their impact on learning and instruction, progress on and challenges in implementing the standards, outreach efforts to inform various stakeholders about the CCSS, district collaboration with other entities on various implementation activities, and the types and helpfulness of CCSS-related assistance from t
Marc Tucker, president and chief executive of the National Center on Education and the Economy, recently unveiled a proposed accountability plan for public schools that includes significantly reducing the number of tests students take, and building extensive professional development time for teachers into every school day. He spoke with EWA.
In May, Missouri lawmakers approved a compromise to keep the Common Core in place for at least two more years but require more oversight and public input. And as Joe Robertson of the Kansas City Star reported, a total of eight committees comprised of lawmakers and parents were supposed to convene at the statehouse this week to begin the work of revising the standards.
State performance standards represent how much the state expects the student to learn in order to be considered proficient in reading, mathematics, and science. This AIR report uses international benchmarking as a common metric to examine and compare what students are expected to learn in some states with what students are expected to learn in other states. The study finds that there is considerable variance in state performance standards, exposing a large gap in expectations between the states with the highest standards and the states with the lowest standards.
The cover story of the New York Times Magazine’s Education Issue is a coveted position, and this week it goes to the Big History Project, an online curriculum backed by Bill Gates that’s expanding into public school classrooms across the country.
Even many teachers typically resistant to change have been open to the Common Core in Washoe County, [Nevada,] says [district literacy coordinator] Torrey Palmer.
She thinks it has a lot to do with the fact that the [school district's] Core Task Project has been teacher led. “It gives teachers a voice,” says Palmer. “This is not something that’s being done to them. They want to do this.”
Deasy also personally pitched Apple on working with Pearson, according to the emails.
Those meetings and conversations began nearly a year before L.A. Unified put the project out to public bid. Apple and Pearson won the contract on June 24, 2013, after committees made up of school district staff members picked them from among 19 bids.
Deasy and other school district officials have declined KPCC’s requests for comment.
For an in-depth feature on the Common Core State Standards, New York Times education reporter Javier C. Hernandez told the story through the eyes of a 9-year-old student: Chrispin Alcindor, one of a family of triplets in Brooklyn.
States receiving waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act are getting more time to grapple with how to conduct teacher evaluations using student test scores, particularly the new Common Core State Standards-based assessments.
According to Education Week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the postponement at an event on Thursday in Washington, D.C., which earlier this summer announced its plan to delay its new teacher evaluations.
August 14, 2014Matthew FrizzellCenter on Education Policy
A compendium compiled by the Center on Education Policy includes more than 60 research studies focused on the Common Core State Standards, and encompasses research from multiple sources, such as government entities, independent organizations, and peer-reviewed publications from academic journals and other outlets.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of American students graduate from high school and enter college without being adequately prepared to succeed there. This is partly the result of misaligned high school standards and higher education expectations. There are real, sobering consequences: millions of students have fallen short of earning a college degree.
The widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and assessments presents a new opportunity to bridge the gap between high school and higher education, according to a new report released today by New America.
The Southern Regional Education Board is conducting a multi-year study of how 15 states are implementing the Common Core State Standards. The “Benchmarking State Implementation of Common Core Standards” project builds on SREB’s decades of experience tracking and reporting state progress in education.
In March 2014, SREB published State Implementation of Common Core State Standards —a summary plus five reports with detailed state profiles by topic.
A new poll from PACE/USC Rossier School of Education suggests California voters are losing enthusiasm for the Common Core State Standards.
PACE/Rossier pollsters spoke with more than 1,000 Californians to gauge their views on a number of key issues, including the recent Vergara vs. California teacher tenure ruling, the new Common Core standards, and the job performance of state and national policymakers. Among the highlights:
Tennessee joins a phalanx of other states in ending its relationship with one of the two Common Core-aligned assessment groups.
The state’s top three education leaders sent a letter to Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) announcing that Tennessee will be seeking a new set of tests and leaving the consortium. Education Week has more.
Will Louisiana be the fourth state to bow out of the Common Core State Standards? The state’s governor indicated today in a speech that he intends to do just that, but other state leaders are pushing back. The Times-Picayune has the story on what Gov. Bobby Jindal said and the subsequent fallout.
The education laws and policy decisions made in the state capitol might seem far removed from the realities of the schools you cover, but their impact hits much closer to home than you might realize. Keeping track of those state debates as they occur is a good way to keep teachers, administrators and local parents in-the-loop about changes that might be coming, and give them an opportunity to contribute their opinions when they still can have an effect.
Only a few years ago, the ambitious initiative to use shared assessments to gauge learning based on the new common-core standards had enlisted 45 states and the District of Columbia. Today, the testing landscape looks much more fragmented, with only 27 of them still planning to use those tests in 2014-15, and the rest opting for other assessments or undecided, an Education Week analysis shows.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.
If you change standards, you’ve got to change curriculum too. And that’s the challenge right now with the Common Core. Because most states have made big changes to their standards, forcing districts and schools to do the same to their curricula.
The current generation of assessments being taken by students across the country is something like a bad boyfriend.
That’s according to Jacqueline King of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, who made the point at EWA’s National Seminar held last month at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. When a better guy (or test) comes along, she continued, it’s hard to take it seriously.
Georgia Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes said her eighth-grade student Tyler, diagnosed with behavioral issues, went from refusing to participate in class to opening up, analyzing, self-reflecting and basing his arguments on fact.
At EWA’s 67th National Seminar, we brought together 18 speakers — each with a unique viewpoint — to discuss the rollout of the new Common Core State Standards. This post is Part 1. Parts 2 and 3 will follow.
Is Common Core an evil monster to be slayed? Or, a beautiful butterfly to be cherished?
Defending the Early Years (DEY) seeks to rally educators to take action on policies that affect the education of young children. The project seeks to mobilize the early childhood education community to speak out against what it considers inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.
Opposition to the Common Core, a set of reading and math standards for elementary, middle and high school students that were originally adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, has gathered momentum among state lawmakers in recent weeks.
The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina are considering signing bills to repeal the standards and replace them with locally written versions. In Missouri, lawmakers passed a bill that would require a committee of state educators to come up with new standards within the next two years.
May 28, 2014Mandy Zatynski of The Education Trust for EWA
Today’s post features guest blogger Mandy Zatynski of The Education Trust, who attended EWA’s National Seminar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville earlier this month.
Thanks to the prevalence of blogs and other communication platforms, education writing now reaches beyond daily journalism and includes advocates, researchers, and almost anyone who has an interest in education and the desire to opine.
When Randi Weingarten gets depressed about the state of public education, she told attendees of EWA’s 67th National Seminar, she calls up memories of her students at the “We the People” competition in upstate New York a couple of decades ago.
May 21, 2014Jane Roberts of The Commercial Appeal for EWA
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam laughingly admitted during a speech at the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar this week that his state hasn’t always been known as a “hotbed of education reform”—or frankly, a place known for its academic achievement.
Moreover, he wasn’t the state CEO who ushered in a series of dramatic education policy changes that has put the state on the national school reform map. Still, he said at the May 19 appearance in Nashville, he’s been the guy “standing in the doorway making sure we don’t retreat.”
Speakers at a variety of sessions have passionately dissected the pros and cons of the new set of learning standards, which Washington and 43 other states have agreed to use.
On one end of the spectrum, Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, predicted the Common Core’s demise, while at the other, Jemelleh Coes, Georgia’s teacher of the year, said it would absolutely improve student achievement.
Gov. Bill Haslam talks with education reporters about the hoped-for payoffs—and political trade-offs—of his initiative to boost the number of Tennesseans with education past high school, including through “last-dollar scholarships” that make two years of community college tuition-free. His remarks came during a keynote address on May 19, 2014, at the Education Writers Association’s 2014 National Seminar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Gov. Bill Haslam discusses why his home state should stay the course as supporters of common standards and tests work to fend off attacks from both the right and left on the political spectrum. His remarks came in a keynote address on May 19, 2014, at the Education Writers Association’s 2014 National Seminar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Political backlash against the Common Core State Standards and assessments appears to be mounting. These five speakers examine the history of the standards; explore why people should be skeptical; profile two state experiences, and offer an examination of left and right political perspectives about the Common Core.
Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution outlines some of his research related to the Common Core State Standards. Recorded Monday, May 19 at Common Core: Realities of the Rollout, a special session held during EWA’s 67th National Seminar at Vanderbilt University.
Our May 19, 2014 special session at the 67th National Seminar looked at Common Core implementation from a variety of angles and perspectives. Below, you can view each presenter’s remarks in full and download his or her slides.
“Across the United States, a fierce wave of resistance is engulfing the Common Core State Standards, threatening to derail this ambitious effort to lift student achievement and, more fundamentally, to undermine the very idea of public education.”
The Common Core State Standards have been reshaping the American education landscape for four years, leaving their mark on curriculum and instruction, professional development, teacher evaluation, the business of publishing, and the way tests are designed.
The Common Core State Standards have been reshaping the American education landscape for four years, leaving their mark on curriculum and instruction, professional development, teacher evaluation, the business of publishing, and the way tests are designed. In this special report, Education Week explores how the initial vision for the standards—and for aligned assessments—is now bumping up against reality in states, school districts, and local communities.
This spring, millions of children nationwide are testing out a test. About 4 million students in 35 states are taking exams based on the new Common Core education standards. It’s a dress rehearsal for the full release next year of two new tests designed to measure how well students are meeting the tougher standards.
In state after state, education officials say the same thing: There have been forgotten passwords, frozen computers, or discrepancies in how different browsers handle the test. On the whole, though: so far, so good.
March 31, 2014 Andrew Ujifusa, Chienyi Cheri Hung, and Doris NhanEducation Week
Anxiety about and opposition to the Common Core State Standards continues to highlight many debates about education policy. Now, several states are reassessing, through legislation, their involvement with the standards and associated assessments. Governors have also issued executive orders regarding the standards. As in 2013, many of the common-core bills aren’t getting a great deal of traction, but that could change.
Education Week offers an interactive infographic that tracks the status of such legislation and executive orders.
March 24, 2014Michael Alison ChandlerWashington Post
About 75 percent of kindergartners nationwide are enrolled in full-day programs, three times the rate of a few decades ago, as many school districts have come to view kindergarten as an academic starting point, rather than a practicing ground for the rhythms and routines of school. But that leaves about a million students for whom kindergarten still lasts just a few hours a day.
The third installment of the Brown Center Report on Public Education is out from the Brookings Institution, and author Tom Loveless provides plenty of food for thought in three key areas: the potential effectiveness of the new Common Core State Standards; whether American students are being saddled with significantly more homework; and an examination of Shanghai’s reputation for producing some of the best 15-year-old math students in the world.
To sell children on math, textbooks sometimes have colorful fictions on their covers. Iguanas look through kaleidoscopes. Skunks swing baseball bats. Rabbits float away after clutching a few too many balloons.
Now, there’s concern that a darker unreality is on the cover of textbooks in order to sell the books to adults: seals that say the texts are aligned to the new Common Core standards.
The report, a joint effort of the National Center on Time and Learning and the Center for American Progress, looks at how high-performing expanded-time schools give teachers more time for ongoing professional development and collaboration needed to implement the Common Core standards.
The report includes recommendations for policymakers and educators.
An intensive survey of state officials by the Center on Education Policy offers insight into the challenges facing states as they implement Common Core State Standards.
Topics covered include how states are working with higher education institutions, gearing up for assessments, and preparing teachers and principals for the transition.
Speakers: Diane Stark Rentner, Center for Education Policy; Maria Voles Ferguson, Center on Education Policy; Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association (moderator)
The political debate about Common Core is ongoing, but other issues are coming to the fore. What are the checks and balances amid the frenzy of products purportedly aligned to the standards? How are states and districts engaging parents? Will colleges accept that high school graduates educated to the standards are college-ready? Our panelists address these and other issues.
A key impetus or the Common Core State Standards has been American students’ standing in the world. The authors of two recent books on countries that fare well in international comparisons place the current U.S. initiative in its global context.
The annual State of the Union address to Congress – and the nation – is President Obama’s opportunity to outline his administration’s goals for the coming months, but it’s also an opportunity to look back at the education priorities outlined in last year’s address – and what progress, if any, has been made on them.
Among the big buzzwords in the 2013 State of the Union: college affordability, universal access to early childhood education, and workforce development.
Growing public distrust, cagey lawmakers and big money from all directions—it’s not just the standards and assessments that are common in the roll out of the Common Core State Standards.
Despite the pushback, the standards are fast becoming a reality across the country. What does that mean for education and the journalists who cover it? Are the standards making a dramatic difference in the way teachers work? How well have school districts planned their curricula around Common Core?
EWA is holding a one-day seminar for journalists today at George Washington University on the new Common Core State Standards, and I look forward to sharing content from the event with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the rollout of the assessments tied to the new standards was the focus of one of the panel discussions at EWA’s 66th National Seminar held in May at Stanford. We asked John Fensterwald of EdSource Today to contribute a guest post from that session.
The Common Core State Standards are poised to remake public education from Maine to California. While the initiative once enjoyed widespread bipartisan support, in 2013 it began facing significant political pushback. As of June 2014, the number of states that fully adopted the standards has dropped from 45 to 42, with the governors of Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina signing legislation to pull out. Several others are considering similar moves. More states have backed out of the student assessment groups associated with the standards, committing to big-dollar contracts with other large testing companies.
The political debate about Common Core is ongoing, but other issues are coming to the fore. What are the checks and balances amid the frenzy of products purportedly aligned to the standards? How are states and districts engaging parents? Are colleges going to accept that high school graduates educated to the standards are college-ready? Panelists address these and other issues. Speakers: Gov.
What do Smarter Balanced and PARCC officials see for the future? Speakers: Jacqueline King of Smarter Balanced and Laura Slover of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Moderated by Lisa Fleisher, Wall Street Journal. Recorded Nov. 4, 2013 at EWA’s reporting seminar, Common Core at the Crossroads: What Comes Next?
A key impetus for the Common Core State Standards has been American students’ standing in the world. Speakers: Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and Economy and author Amanda Ripley, interviewed by Michael Chandler of the Washington Post. Recorded Nov. 4, 2013 at EWA’s reporting seminar, Common Core at the Crossroads: What Comes Next?
October 30, 2013Matthew M. ChingosThe Brookings Institution
Eighty-five percent of American students attend school in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards. As these states transition from adoption to implementation of the new standards, many are grappling with how best to assess whether students are learning the material contained in the Common Core.
The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University, sent reporters across the country to take a closer look at the new Common Core State Standards.
The new Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, are poised to remake the business of schooling in the United States. While the education initiative started with a wealth of bipartisan goodwill, it has now engendered confusion and controversy, and a handful of states have dropped out or scaled back their participation. What will the new expectations really mean for how teachers teach, and students learn? And will states – and the public – have the patience to ride out the bumpy road of implementation?
Achieve was founded in 1996 by a group of governors and business leaders. Since that time, it “has developed a range of advocacy resources that aim to address common concerns with college and career readiness.” Achieve partnered with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers on the development the Common Core State Standards.
If you need help tracking down the right person for a quote, or you’re stuck in your reporting and you want to workshop a fresh angle, the Public Editor is here for you! Contact Emily Richmond to set up a time to talk. The service is free and confidential.
Schools that that teach low-income students a notoriously demanding curriculum are almost twice as likely to see those students enroll in college, a new report shows.
This news comes on the heels of growing research suggesting that challenging assessments, which are a staple of the International Baccalaureate program featured in the report, help students develop a deeper understanding of key subjects like math and history. That “deeper learning,” in turn, may lead to more college opportunities.
“The spread of charter schools throughout the East Bay and California is often viewed as a blessing or curse, depending on whom you ask,” a recent Contra Costa Times article begins.
But among Latinos in the area, it would appear to be the former, according to the newspaper’s analysis of charter school demographics in Oakland, California, where charter schools have seen their enrollment nearly triple over the past decade.
I’m headed to Quebec City this week, and in preparation I’ve been reading “Champlain’s Dream: The European Founding of North America” by David Hackett Fischer. There are also quite a few education titles on my vacation reading list, and we’ll be featuring some of the authors in upcoming episodes of EWA Radio.