American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.

American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.


Adoption stories


decisions decisions

  • Kathy Lade of Grantsburg, WI
    I knew I had never met this girl, yet my heart was attached to her. In my mind, she was already my daughter. I had named her, decorated her room, knitted sweaters for her, and told my entire family about her. I considered her loss a miscarriage just as if I had physically carried her in my body.
  • Erin Conroy of Moorhead, MN
    I still grieve now, mostly for Nicolas' birth mother. The most surprising aspect of the adoption process for me was the amount of loss I feel for Nicolas' birth mother.

saying good-bye

  • Kirk Wulf of Buffalo, MN
    We heard babies crying and in walked a care giver with Sophia in hand. She was very sad. We noticed a man at the door way who was crying.

adoption day

  • Ann Zimprich of Edina, MN
    So the little baby in the photo was NOT our son! We were devastated. When we picked up the correct photo, I remember sobbing because he looked nothing like the other baby.
  • Heather Shirey of Faribault, MN
    We felt like idiots for not being able to undress our baby without making her cry. We thought about cutting it off, or perhaps just leaving her in it until the morning in order to spare her the trauma caused by our ineptitude.
  • Judy Woodruff of Indianapolis, IN
    The problem for me at that point was that I was crying so hard it was getting embarrassing. I mean I was loud - very, VERY loud. It dawned on me that years from now, when friends and family of this group watched these incredibly moving events, they would ask , "What is that horrible sound in the background when you were receiving the bebe?"
  • Elizabeth Delmatoff of Portland, OR
    He is exactly the person who could complete our family, and he couldn't be more mine if I had birthed him.
  • Lisa Carpenter of Macon, GA
    We already loved Grace from wanting her so badly and staring at her picture for six weeks. She looked a little unsure of us, but willing to give us a chance. We knew we were going to be okay when, a few days later, we heard her blowing raspberries from her stroller.

adjusting to new home

  • Michelle Vipond of Richfield, MN
    Last fall we were told that he had the bone age of a three-five year old when he was actually five and he has spent the last year just learning to speak in three to four word sentences.
  • Abbe Longman of King of Prussia, PA
    The boys also started "school" (i.e., daycare) in January and now, September, you can't tell that they were born overseas. Roman's English ability is astounding! They have completely bonded as brothers and as our sons. I can't remember a time when they weren't here!
  • Patrick Rounds of Edina, MN
    Nicholas (Nick) is all boy and participated successfully in baseball, hockey and golf, his real passion. Now married and living in Florida, he hopes to make golf his profession as he struggles through mini-tour events looking to get noticed.
  • Barbara Kavan of LeCenter, MN
    Their names were the only possessions that they took from Romania with them.

conflict

  • Sharon Cuartero of Danbury, CT
    As a child, I viewed myself as someone ordinary with a special story. As a teenager, my special story became a source of anguish and heartache.
  • Betsy Clarke of Minnetonka, MN
    Our adoption experience has been painful. While I have grown as an individual and learned more about unconditional love, it almost destroyed our marriage and caused much chaos for our family.

joy

  • Jeanne Strong of Richmond, VA
    It did feel a bit strange to look at these pictures in an attempt to "pick out" a child but that is how the procedure was presented to me.
  • Annik Stahl of Denver, CO
    Bian is the love not just of my life, but of my parents' lives. My mother and I have always not gotten along together so well, and the irony is not lost on me that she and my daughter are best friends. They rarely go a day without seeing each other or chatting on the phone.
  • Nancy Ferguson of Washington Crossing, PA
    Being Chloe's mom is the best, most exciting and most rewarding job we have ever had!
  • Beverly Fish of Ypsilanti, MI
    Instead of labor pains, we share the agony of waiting day by day for the phone to ring, telling us we have become new parents.
  • Richard Ladd of Simi Valley, CA
    I would like to add that, in a perfect world, there would be no necessity for international adoption. However, I'm glad we were able to find our daughter and that we will be able to return for a second child.
  • Laura Dennis-Bay of Williamsburg, KY
    People try to tell me my children are lucky, and maybe in some vague material sense they are, but I don't see it that way, for my husband and I are the luckiest ones of all to have these three wonderful souls in our hearts and in our lives.

across cultures

  • Susan Saxon of Providence, RI
    We are inspired by the close knit traditional nomadic villages of the Kazakhs, or "auls" and we want to develop a like-minded supportive community for other adoptive families with children from Kazakhstan.
  • Michelle Lee of Aloha, OR
    My perspective is different from theirs in that I don't ever have to deal with "intrusive" or "grocery store" questions from strangers.
  • Robin Sizemore of High Point, NC
    We also returned from Georgia with a different set of feelings. Feelings that were carried with us for some time and still evoke pain, deep within our very beings. Feelings of helplessness, gluttony, despair and the haunting memories of children, much like what Americans saw in Romania a few years ago.
  • Eileen Thompson of Boston, MA
    When I was eight years old my parents moved to the suburbs during white flight from Boston area in the 60's. It was harder for me in the white suburbs, the level of racism was intense and I was the only non-white person, except for the owners of the Chinese restaurant in town.
  • Ada Valdes of Miami, FL
    My daughter, Cristina, is growing up as a happy, dancing, multi-lingual Chinese Cuban American in Miami Florida. She loves her abuelo and abuela, her extended family of cousins, uncles and aunts, dim sum and frijoles negros, and Disney World.
  • Holly Davis of Minneapolis, MN
    Our birth child, Aidan, loves Indian mythology, the various Gods and Goddesses, the great epic stories. His identification with India is very strong. Not so for Asha. She does not read the mythological comic books mailed from her Indian grandparents, nor wear the Indian jewelry, nor buy the cheap plastic Ganesh as an India trip souvenir.
  • Lois Garbisch of Cook, MN
    I've heard that in the metro areas, Asian children may often be asked, "Where are you from?" or they are assumed to be refugees, or they are assumed to be Chinese, etc. My children mostly haven't had to deal with these questions because people know who we are.
  • Lee Engfer of Minneapolis, MN
    Our trip to South Korea to adopt our son, Jay Min, took place in April last year, 50 years to the month after my father served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He hadn't been back since then. Now he was here to meet his first grandchild, to reacquaint himself with his past.
  • Mike Carey of Golden Valley, MN
    Being a Korean adoptee makes him that much more interesting, but it doesn't define him or his life. His education, his values, his family, his interests, his talents, his foibles and mistakes all define him.
  • Rebecca Hammer of San Jose, CA
    I have always felt the dichotomy of my existence. The keys to my past may remain forever unknown. I very likely could have died in Korea before my third birthday, but in being transported to America, I have thus far lived a rich, full life. I am lucky to be here.

meaning of family

  • Amy Weintraub of Charleston, WV
    She went from being Chen Yi Huan with a questionable future, to being Caroline Huan W.: a beloved sister and the owner of a black and white tomcat. She suddenly had doting grandparents, aunts, uncles and a posse of crazy cousins. At that moment, Caroline was given her own room, a guaranteed pass to the best American college she could get into, and the freedom to choose her own destiny.
  • Sherril Garahan of St. Paul, MN
    These times were the most difficult days of my life and I was sure that I would never adopt again. But this didn't hold true. In 2003, Eliot joined our family.
  • Linda Forde of Ironton, MN
    Everyone knows that two kids should be enough for a single, "older" parent, right? Apparently not!
  • Bren Kim-Rastello of Moreno Valley, CA
    Since that day as far back as I can remember I have always longed to see someone that "looked like me." The day my first daughter was born I stood in awe as everyone that saw her told me she looked just like me. I'd waited my whole life to hear those words: "She looks like you."
  • Catherine Calvin of Colorado Springs, CO
    For those couples who wonder if they could accept another child that is not theirs biologically, there is not a difference. The minute my husband saw her picture four weeks before we departed to China, he said with tears in his eyes: "This is exactly how I felt when they put my boys in my arms in the hospital -- no difference."
  • Carol Bromeland of Utica, MN
    We have always been quick to point out that in fact, we adopted for very selfish reasons... we wanted a family and this was our way to get one!
  • Timothy Kennedy of Fairfax, VA
    She is very curious about where I come from physically, even though I tell her that my laugh and sense of humor are like my Dad's and my Uncle Jim's. My easy going-ness and perhaps even my procrastination I get from my Mom.
  • Rochelle Stackhouse of Bethlehem, PA
    He explained that Leah's foster mother had loved her very much and was very worried about how this child would take the separation and plane flight. So she gave Mr. Park one of her blouses.
  • Kevin and Lisa DeGroot of Port Huron, MI
    We celebrate holidays for each of our children's birth countries: Diwali for India, Chinese New Year, and we are now celebrating Ethiopia's New Year. We have artwork and books on their birth countries and regularly fix traditional meals from each country of birth.
  • Leah Kessel of Minneapolis, MN
    I recently came upon a note from the adults who had been playing with us on the plane, and it was a wonderful experience. It felt like just another piece of the experience (puzzle) had been handed to me.
  • Sara Schlueter Weidner of Prairie Village, KS
    At the age of five months, I came to the United States via a 747 to Chicago, Illinois. Back then, whole planes were chartered for adoptees. My parents nervously waited, and then I was delivered to them.
  • Margaret Schwartz of Falls Church, VA
    I will never forget the faces of the children I left behind, and my passion in life is now to raise the awareness of hte plight of these children.

searching

  • Lorial Crowder of New York, NY
    After years of assuming that my biological mother named me, I learned during my visit in 2003 that the former executive director, an American from Seattle, Washington, had named me; her sister, a teacher at the military base, requested that the next female child be called Lorial.

reunion

  • Cortney Natkow of Reston, VA
    The hospital that I came from in Korea (Eastern Social Welfare) will be the same place that my baby will come from. The same Dr. Kims are running the facility and I will be able to meet them when I go over.

other

  • Beth-Ann Bloom of Woodbury, MN
    CHSM staff were really clear that the Koreans would never accept placement with a single woman but they permitted me to pay for and submit a home study. My son came home within six months.
  • Jean Erichsen of The Woodlands, TX
    Our personal mission to adopt became a mission to help others.
  • Jason Como of Minneapolis, MN
    My only connection to the brief time I spent in Colombia as a newborn baby is a grainy picture of Colombian health care workers standing around my crib.
  • Jennifer Arndt-Johns of Minneapolis, MN
    For the first time, I sat and embraced the thoughts that Marietta had shared with me, "You were placed somewhere where you would be found."
  • Lisa Kastor of Cleveland, OH
    As we stood in horror watching this unbelievable event and thanking god we got out alive, we started to realize just what was burning inside the house. All the orphanage gifts and our traveling papers were left in the dining room, the second room the fire destroyed. We both started to cry as we thought about the months of preparation that must have gone up in smoke.
  • Tammy McKanan of Saint Joseph, MN
    If agencies believe that best practices include extensive counseling for the birth mother prior to relinquishment, and as much contact with the child as possible after relinquishment, why are these practices not applied to international adoption?



Back to Finding Home


American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.