Common Sense Education: From Common Core to ESSA and Beyond, is not just a comprehensive overview of the failures of the Common Core approach to education. Dr. Zarra takes the reader on a captivating journey that begins with a basic, unbiased understanding of the Common Core, which educators and parents can grasp, and moves into and beyond the newest education law, Every Student Succeeds Act. This book traces government education overreach to its perilous and tragic end and provides all audiences with sensible, clear and logical outcomes. Common Sense Education exposes fallacies that aim at 'selling' federal education control to the voting public. Dr. Zarra is passionate about his work, has the best interest of the student at heart and has nearly 40 years of experience in American education. As his research lays the foundation for his assertions, his experience and common sense inject validity and clarity into the causes of educational atrophy, so often disguised as educational reform for the best interests of students. Dr. Zarra offers a set of powerfully supported and sensible admonitions to bureaucrats and politicians. That is, they should stick with politics and leave education to the educators. Outstanding work Dr. Zarra!
— Don Burnard, EdD, President/CEO, The Burnard Group
As the new education law, Every Student Succeeds Act, takes effect, Common Sense Education: From Common Core to ESSA and Beyond is a most timely publication. This book, written by Dr. Ernest Zarra, addresses the recent and current events and trends in national and state education policy. Zarra analyzes the disfavored and failed education programs No Child Left Behind,Race to the Top, and the Common Core Standards — each of which reflected an overly-burdensome and concentrated assessment package in its one-size-fits-all approach to education. Zarra goes beyond this, though. He suggests that by focusing on a well-rounded education, that such a focus meets the educational needs of more students, all of which are very important for twenty-first century education and qualitative student success. Zarra’s ideas are expressed foremost in the need to teach with excellence, the essential components for crafting sensible and unique school programs, and the development of deep commitments toward our students and communities. Zarra challenges federal expectations of '21st century education,' as he advocates for more classroom empowerment for teachers, the return of more local control over education, and a profound respect for all students and their own unique talents and skills, as well as their diverse, personal backgrounds. Common Sense Education is engaging and comprehensible, and calls for reflection and action toward a more realistic education system for our students, teachers, and the educational community as-a-whole, in the twenty-first century.
— Jacqueline Arroyo-Romano, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Bilingual/ESL Education, Texas A & M University, International
With countless attempts at establishing and reforming federal and state-wide educational policy in recent years, this book, Common Sense Education: From Common Core to ESSA and Beyond, written by Dr. Ernest Zarra, is needed to help address the issues and struggles in American education reform. Dr. Zarra, who is an expert educational reformist and a dedicated educator with nearly four decades of classroom experience, is an ideal professional to open dialogue, concisely address these issues and trends, and to propose solutions. He does a thorough job of each of these in this book. This publication is not just a synopsis of government programs, but it is a clear introduction and unbiased and rigorous analysis of these recent programs and trends. Serious questions are raised herein about how America transitions its students from adolescence to adulthood, the seriousness (or triviality) of today’s high school diploma, and the importance of making high school more stimulating. Barriers to student success in college such as differences in culture, the recent lowering of academic expectations in high schools, and the resulting need for remediation of many students when they arrive at college are also covered. The reality that college is not meant for everyone and that the career and technical education alternative might very well be the more appropriate choice for a vast number of students is underscored. With the importance of student success in American society and, because everyone is a participant in ensuring this success, this book is a necessary read for teachers, administrators, educational scholars, parents, business leaders, bureaucrats, policy makers and politicians.
— Joseph B. Wujek, MA, Lecturer, Architecture and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, CO
Dr. Ernest Zarra's book, Common Sense Education: From Common Core to ESSA and Beyond is an insightful tool, and one by which to take our nation's students and its schools into the twenty-first century. Education paradigms change national direction far too often, argues Zarra. These changes affect students and their families. This enforces the belief the American education system has always been the graveyard of innovative ideas. Dr. Zarra questions whether these changes have been sensible, and surveys parents and education professionals, asking them to weigh in on this sensibility, as well as the current state and direction of education in America. The latest education fad to come along is the Every Student Succeeds Act. As a reaction to Common Core and its diminishing popularity, Zarra delves deeply into whether the ESSA, and its implications, is the right direction for our schools and students. But Zarra goes beyond this in his book. He provides a masterful critique, in terms of what teacher-training institutions should be doing to produce excellent teachers for twenty-first century classrooms, and what excellent classroom learning should look like. He also suggests ways to improve secondary schools and the education provided to students, to prepare students for college and career, as well as lay out a suggested framework for an exciting, highly inclusive secondary school program. I highly recommend this book and commend Dr. Zarra for taking on these twenty-first century critical education issues, and offering an innovative set of educational approaches.
— Mahmoud Suleiman, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Educational Studies Department, California State University, Bakersfield