Early CKLA Success in Hartsville, TN

Deanna Zarichansky is the Assistant Principal at Trousdale County Elementary School in Hartsville, TN

Our district adopted Core Knowledge [Language Arts] at the beginning of this school year. This has been the single most powerful curriculum implementation I have seen in my 16 years of education. We are a small district with a high rate of poverty, with many students who enter school with little to no experiences with literacy…

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Core Knowledge Launches New Website!

A website that’s been around for many years is like a garage in a long-occupied house—stuff piles up, accumulates, gets stacked on top of and behind things. It may be good stuff, but it can be hard to find or out of date. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and undertake a good spring cleaning.

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“It’s really cool”—Voices from a California CKLA School, and Thumbs Up from EdReports.org

Amplify Education, the Core Knowledge Foundation’s commercial publishing partner for the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program, has posted a video featuring CKLA in action at Alvina Elementary School in Caruthers, California. Also, in an independent report issued by EdReports.org, CKLA for grades 3-5 scored high on all criteria.

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“Why Knowledge Counts More Than Skill”

Our blog post title above is in quotation marks because it is quoted from an article by Doug Lemov (author of Teach Like a Champion). Lemov offers guidance to teachers asked to incorporate more nonfiction in their reading instruction. He notes that “many language arts teachers approach nonfiction structurally” and focus students’ attention on “how information is presented.” But, says Lemov, “how information is presented” is less important than what students know, since the text assumes (as all texts do) prior background knowledge.

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Lyles-Crouch Gets High Marks on State Report Card

Students and teachers at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy have something to celebrate. For this public school in Alexandria, Virginia—also a Core Knowledge School of Distinction—the latest State Report Card results put the school ahead of all other elementary schools in its district and overall ahead of the state as well. The Report Card provides test score…

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Why Knowledge Matters, E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.’s New Book Affirms Why Knowledge Matters

The ideas that thirty years ago prodded a scholar of English literature from the halls of academe into elementary school classrooms continue to motivate E. D. Hirsch, Jr. today. “I am still chiefly motivated by the social injustice of our dominant theories and their unwitting destruction of the American dream,” Dr. Hirsch affirms in the…

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Knowledge Needs Champions

Harriet Tubman will grace the front of our $20 bill—a long overdue tribute to a woman who lived up to the best of American values. But do most Americans know who she was? Anecdotal evidence and test scores indicate that they don’t.

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What Americans Want to Know

Sometimes, dreams really do come true. In June, I called for knowledge equality through a new, crowd-sourced effort to specify what all of our children should have the opportunity to learn. Now, a similar project is underway. Eric Liu, of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program and Citizen University, is calling on all of us…

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Differentiation’s Dirty Little Secret

I’ve been visiting a lot of elementary schools lately, and I’ve noticed a dangerous pattern: instruction that’s called “differentiated” but looks an awful lot like tracking. To varying degrees, I’ve seen it in high- and low-scoring schools, some using Core Knowledge, some not. Here’s a typical scenario (abstracted from my admittedly limited experience). The whole…

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Dear Chiefs: This Is Your Chance to Close the Reading Achievement Gap

Assuming all goes as planned, we should have a new federal education law by the end of the year. Dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), this version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would greatly increase states’ options for evaluating schools and teachers. As this ESSA cheat sheet explains: States would still have…

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