Common Core Challenge in Bel Air: ‘Delve Deeper’

The Hechinger ReportVia The Hechinger Report | By Pat Wingert

LOS ANGELES—A half dozen children are gathered around a table for small-group reading day in Claudine Phillips’ sunny second-grade classroom at Roscomare Road Elementary in the affluent Bel Air section of the city.

The class had recently read a short nonfiction story about Native American parents in New York who created the Freedom School to teach their children about tribal traditions. Phillip knows most of her 22 kids can sound out the words, but her goal today is to get them to delve deeply into the story’s details, to “Read like a detective,” as big cut-out letters on her classroom wall put it.

As Phillips, a veteran teacher of 17 years, spent the morning working on comprehension with one small group of readers after another, she never mentions the words, “Common Core.” But much of the teaching technique she is using with the children is inspired by these new ambitious national standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, which aim to encourage critical thinking and produce students who are more competitive globally.

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