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From college B.A. to Education Policy Analyst in 3 years

by Susan Ohanian

Meet Fordham Ohio's Newest Addition

The Ohio Gadfly is extremely excited to announce an addition to our Columbus office. Jessica Poiner, a former teacher, has joined our team as an education policy analyst.

Here are Jessica's stats:

May 2011: graduated from Baldwin-Wallace University with a degree in English.

2011: Joined Teach for America, teaching at a Memphis high school

I may have designed Common Core curriculum, delivered thousands of lessons, and sat through hundreds of professional development sessions, but my kids taught me more than I taught them.

June 5, 2014: Becomes education policy analyst at Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

In Teachers, the Common Core, and the freedom to teach, Jennifer explains why she likes the Common Core:

One reason we supported the new standards was because they gave us more freedom. Detractors claim that standards tell teachers how to teach. But I taught Common Core after teaching Tennessee's state standards, and while Common Core did give me expectations for what my students should know and be able to do by the end of the year (just like the previous standards did), it allowed me to decide what and how to teach. . . .

There's a lot more--all the boilerplate claiming that Common Core isn't a curriculum, blah, blah, blah. A Fordham publication is cited: Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers

Here is the beginning of the bio of one of the co-authors:

Brinnie Ramsey is an anthropologist and educator who has worked in school reform at the school and district level as a project manager and researcher for most of her career. Since joining Education First as a policy analyst she has been engaged in state-level projects for the Bill and Melinda Gates, Lumina and Hewlett Foundations, and has supported ongoing work with Achieve, Fordham, the Core to College Learning Network and SREB in Common Core State Standards implementation.

The research for the publication "was made possible through the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Louis Calder Foundation, and our sister organization, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation."

Tennessee adopted Common Core in July 2010. By February 1914, this report names them "The Urban Belwether." The report mentions the $30.3 million federal money for Common Core.

Metro Nashville started the 2013--14 school year with a new textbook for K--6 English, vetted by the Tennessee Department of Education for alignment and adopted with significant input from MNPS teachers. Adoption of this textbook--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Journeys (adopted by 78 percent of districts in the state)--was the result of an extensive process executed by a cadre of six to eight district-vetted and trained teachers and specialists at each grade level.

Take a look at the TURN conference agenda --heavy participation from Nashville--telling teachers how to get aligned with Common Core. "We've drunk the Kool-Aid and you can too."

Alignment. Alignment. Alignment.

One of requirements in choosing a text was that reading selections be 50-50 fiction and nonfiction. There are also prescriptions for complex text, and so on and so on.

Kenton County School District in northern Kentucky is another district featured in this study, and guess what? Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recipients themselves, they work closely with Student Achievement Partners.

Alignment. Alignment. Alignment.

This is education policy analysis, Fordham style. Teachers are free to align with Common Core.

— Susan Ohanian




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