Tag Archives: educational standards

Kami Cotler aka Elizabeth from ‘The Waltons’: Common Core and American education

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Just about everyone remembers Kami Cotler, better known as Elizabeth from the beloved Virginia-based “The Waltons” television series from the 1970s that centered on Depression-era life and World War II in Nelson County’s Rockfish Valley. She was the youngest, the red-headed little sister who grew up in front of our eyes.

Ms. Cotler has a public Facebook page made up of more than 76,000 “Waltons” fans where she answers questions and chats with admirers. Now 49 years old and married with two children, she left acting after “The Waltons” and became an educator who has taught math in middle and high school.

Recently on her Facebook page, she posted a video (see above) and left this comment about the math program, Common Core:

Here’s a pretty sweet explanation of the idea behind the new math standards. The trick is you need to have math teachers with real, profound number sense. It’s hard to find good math teachers who teach math the old way…

Even though she got a thumbs-up from 1,000 followers and had 492 shares, she also received plenty of push-back, some in the form of rude comments from those opposed to Common Core. Wading through the hundreds of comments, Ms. Cotler patiently responded to the nay-sayers, some who turned the discussion political by posting links to various pundits who has expressed disapproval of the math program.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett explains Common Core

Common CoreBy Lynn R. Mitchell

In the midst of the contentious debate over the Common Core State Standards, many critics have lost perspective on its purpose.

Why did so many governors, educators and policymakers across both parties join together to create the standards in the first place? A brief look at Common Core’s history would help explain its significance and counter some of the criticisms.

In 1983, then Secretary of Education Terrel Bell commissioned the seminal report, “A Nation at Risk,” which highlighted American students’ falling SAT scores and awakened the nation to its educational malaise. Among many of the report’s recommendations, which eventually became a platform for modern education reforms, were calls for “more rigorous and measurable standards.” American students were victims of low expectations and inconsistent learning goals.

William Bennett explains Common Core in an op-ed that lays out the what and why of this misunderstood educational tool (see Common Core has no better alternative). He further explains that not much has changed since 1983 despite billions of dollars spent on education and adds, “Thanks to benchmarked national and international exams, like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), we know that American students continue to fall short.”

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