How Does The Common Core Help Achieve Our Goals For Public Education?

Apr 27, 2015

Recorded on: April 24th, 2015

Air Date: April 27th, 2015

Educators, administrators, policy makers, researchers, and parents in Eugene and across the nation are engaged in a lively debate about the Common Core State Standards and testing. The two separate but related issues include the Smarter Balanced tests now used in Oregon. In February, City Club members heard UO Professor Jerry Rosiek critique these initiatives, particularly noting the danger of relying too heavily on any system of testing to assess school productivity.

The April 24th program features two other thoughtful education experts who offer a broader perspective. Dev Sinha and Matt Coleman will discuss the systems-wide changes under way in not only assessment, but also in instruction, curricula, and teacher training.

Dev Sinha, PhD, is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oregon. His scholarship in algebraic topology is internationally recognized and has been supported by the National Science Foundation. His teaching interests and practices focus on creating context to facilitate abstract reasoning, "putting problems first" in teaching proofs, giving frequent small assignments to foster independence in advanced courses, and employing portfolio-based assessment. After using these teaching techniques in courses for pre-service teachers, he became deeply involved with the challenges facing teachers in K-12 mathematics education. Lane Ignite: Mathematics has served over 400 teachers and administrators in Lane County who are implementing the Common Core. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from MIT and his PhD. from Stanford.

Sinha gained insight from having a daughter in a 4j school. “Changes in testing are just one small part of the changes being made,” he explains, “I grow more and more excited as I see more results. I’ve been devoting time to getting teachers and others the tools they need to do better for our kids.” He says that mathematics education is improving and that there is a lot to be thankful for, even as the state faces relatively low resources and poor outcomes.

Matt Coleman, DEd, is the Executive Director and Chief Academic Officer of EPIC. That local nonprofit “seeks to improve educational policy and practices in ways that lead to more productive education results for all students.” He earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Oregon, and his master’s degree at Lewis & Clark College. He has worked as an educational assistant, teacher, middle and high school principal, and district level administrator. In administrative roles with both the Beaverton School District and the Springfield Public Schools, Coleman supported change that resulted not only improved outcomes for all students but that also had a positive, differential impact on historically underserved students. As an adjunct faculty member, Coleman has taught a variety of courses in the UO’s Department of the Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership. He has taught courses specific to data-based decision making, school improvement, leading for change, and organizational theory. His primary areas of interest include school leadership, system thinking, organizational theory, educational measurement, and secondary school reform.

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