American RadioWorks |
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

  • 09.02.14

    Teachers embrace the Common Core

    Teachers in Reno, Nevada, were skeptical of the Common Core at first. But they have embraced the new standards as a way to bring better education to students who are struggling in school -- and to kids who are ahead.
  • 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 |
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

  • 09.02.14

    Teachers embrace the Common Core

    Teachers in Reno, Nevada, were skeptical of the Common Core at first. But they have embraced the new standards as a way to bring better education to students who are struggling in school -- and to kids who are ahead.
  • 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


Our daughter when we first met her in 2001. Her birth certicate stated she was two months old, but her records show that she was really four months old.

Nancy Ferguson
Washington Crossing, PA

Birth Country: Vietnam
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later

This is the story I wrote for her naming ceremony at our Unitarian Church, where we are only one of many lesbian and gay couples to have adopted.

For Our Daughter,

September 10, 2001, we saw pictures of our precious daughter for the first time. In the pictures, she was about one month old. She had wispy hair with a tiny round face and the biggest, blackest eyes. She was (and still is) the most beautiful baby we have ever seen.

While we were waiting for our referral, we wondered how we would react when we saw pictures of our child for the first time. Cry? Scream? We didn't do either. We just couldn't take our eyes off her. We couldn't get over how very beautiful she was! We just wanted to kiss those little cheeks!

Today she is a very (and I mean very) active ten-month-old! She now has a very round face, and of course, she still has those beautiful black eyes and the longest eye lashes! She amazes us every day, and we are still in awe of her, even after almost seven months of being together. She is learning words and studies and watches every move her mamma and mommy make. She is the light of our lives, and our favorite hobby these days is just watching her!

We can't remember what it was like without her, pretty boring we're sure! When we wake up in the morning, we can already hear her happily babbling in her crib.

Being Chloe's mom is the best, most exciting and most rewarding job we have ever had! (Definitely the hardest and sometimes the most challenging as well!) Her hugs, her patting us on the back, her fishy kisses and hearing her call, "Ma-ma" when she wakes up in the morning are the best paychecks we've ever received!

We are grateful for the support of our friends, family and church.

We are especially grateful to Chloe's birth mother for giving us the greatest gift we have ever received. When we look into her eyes or kiss her cheek, we know that her choice has enabled us to grow and allowed us to love in ways that we never knew existed. It took such guts and courage to give the gift that she has given. We hope that she knows on some level that we will raise her daughter to be proud of her and her heritage.

No one else, except maybe other adoptive parents, can know the intensity and meaning of that moment when governments recognize and state what you already know, the child is now a part of your family, your life, your present, future, and past.

Chloe Anne Dieu Thanh Tiet Ferguson has changed our lives forever, not just because Chloe became a part of our family but because we became a part of Chloe's family. It has changed how we see ourselves and our lives. No decision will ever be simple again.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
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

  • 09.02.14

    Teachers embrace the Common Core

    Teachers in Reno, Nevada, were skeptical of the Common Core at first. But they have embraced the new standards as a way to bring better education to students who are struggling in school -- and to kids who are ahead.
  • 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.