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Georgia Teacher of the Year decries myths about Common Core State Standards

Just a teachers and students across the country began returning to school, versions of a blog titled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Common Core English Standards,” written by a Georgia teacher D’Lee Pollock-Moore, appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and later in the Washington Post.

The post, of course, is full of inaccuracies about the ELA standards – inaccuracies which make it clear the author (and teachers around the country) need access to better professional learning to support them as they design curricula around high standards.

2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes took the opportunity to set the record straight, pointing out the errors Pollock-Moore made in writing about the standards, and explaining to parents exactly how the standards impact instruction. Her response, which you can read in part below, was co-signed by fifteen other educators from around the country.


While the seven deadly sins don’t actually appear as a consolidated list in the Bible, they’re far from myths. The same cannot be said forSeven Deadly Sins of Common Core English Standards.

These so-called “sins,” outlined by Georgia English teacher D’Lee Pollock-Moore, not only feed public confusion and misunderstanding, but also put the rigor, equity, and achievement encouraged by high standards at risk.
Many of us are parents and we’ve all had our fair share of sleepless nights, filled with worry. Will my child get into a good college? Will she be able to get a well-paying job when she graduates? Will he be prepared for whatever the world throws at him?

Here’s a bit of good news: High standards set kids up for success.

The reading and writing standards are not ambiguous, and teachers benefit from the flexibility and creativity the standards offer. The Common Core English standards are at once specific and flexible. For example, the third Anchor Standard for Reading indicates students are expected to analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. In third grade, that might mean students describe why a character does something in a story, but if your child already knows how to do that, he could begin to work toward the fourth grade-level expectation by using specific details in the story to support his description.

Continue reading here.

Jemellah Coes’ response is co-signed by the educators listed below.

John-David Bowman, 2015 Arizona Teacher of the Year.
Sheila Brachear, a mentor teacher in Mississippi.
Christine Cahoon, an instructional coach in Idaho.
Dr. Rachel Peay Cornett, a K-5 Reading Specialist in Tennessee. 
Tara Dale, a high school science teacher in Arizona.
Lauren Fine, who works in urban education in Colorado.
Barbara Gottschalk, an elementary language acquisition teacher in Michigan.
Beth Maloney, 2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year.
Kim Hardwick, an elementary school principal in New York.
Kristie Martorelli, a reading interventionist and professional learning coordinator in Arizona.
Amanda McAdams, a Director of Elementary Education in Wyoming.
Ryan O. Murphey, a high school teacher in Tennessee.
Troy Rivera, a high school English teacher in Colorado.
Lexie Woo, a special education teacher in New York.
Sarah Yost, a middle school English teacher in Kentucky.