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

  • 08.28.14

    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.
  • 08.26.14

    What is the Common Core?

    The Common Core is a huge change for public schools, but most Americans know little about it. Learn what Common Core is, where it came from, and why it’s become so controversial.

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

  • 08.28.14

    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.
  • 08.26.14

    What is the Common Core?

    The Common Core is a huge change for public schools, but most Americans know little about it. Learn what Common Core is, where it came from, and why it’s become so controversial.


Adoption stories


Jean Erichsen
The Woodlands, TX

Birth Country: Colombia
Decade of adoption: 1970s

My husband, Heino Erichsen, and I were the first to adopt a baby in Colombia and to pave the way for thousands of singles and couples to find children in Latin American countries.

During our personal quest to adopt, we had to think on our feet: we battled our way through the adoption process by figuring out the state and foreign adoption laws and puzzling out the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service.

Our two months of frantic effort culminated in the placement of twin baby girls at Casa de la Madre y el Nino in Bogota, Colombia. A Colombian friend of mine had located the babies; the agency sent us their names and birthdates, but nothing else. We didn't even know what the expenses would be or how long we would be abroad. Yet we "bonded" to that bit of information and made plans accordingly. Our friends and relatives told us we were taking too many risks and shook their heads. As I look back at it now, I'm glad we threw caution to the winds and followed our hearts.

One of the most memorable days of my life was when the ladies at the orphanage brought gorgeous Spanish/Indian babies dressed in long christening gowns. They cooed, smiled, and stole our hearts. The process was far from done at that point; we still had to get through the Colombian court system and U.S. immigration. My husband and I were nervous wrecks, fearing that something would go wrong. Our protective maternal and paternal instincts were maxed out until that wonderful day when our plane was in the air and headed for Miami.

Our personal mission to adopt became a mission to help others. I could never forget the faces of abandoned children, some as young as two, trying to earn a living on the streets of Bogota. For the next six years, my husband and I shared what we learned about the process with others, as volunteers for adoption agencies in Minnesota. In 1981, we opened the first international adoption agency in Texas, Los Ninos International Adoption Center. Since we began serving families throughout the United States, we have placed over 2,600 children.

Today, one of the twins is the Executive Director of the agency and we have direct adoption programs in Asia and in Eastern Europe as well as in Latin America. My husband and I are still involved as consultants and continue to develop new programs and write adoption information. Both of us feel great satisfaction in the knowledge that a lot of children have loving families, thanks to our efforts.



Back to Adoption Stories


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

  • 08.28.14

    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.
  • 08.26.14

    What is the Common Core?

    The Common Core is a huge change for public schools, but most Americans know little about it. Learn what Common Core is, where it came from, and why it’s become so controversial.