Common Core: The Conversation Must Continue

Lately I’ve had Common Core on the brain.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are slated to be in place in nearly the entire United States by 2014-15 and my colleagues across the country express varying opinions on whether this is a good thing or not.

Hopkinton NH teachers collaborating around the Reading Curriculum and the CCSS.

A recent report of the Brookings Institution claims that the Common Core will not have a significant affect on academic achievement. Yet, researchers at the Educational Policy Improvement Center are taking a more positive sentiment stating that the CCSS compare well to the most highly regarded state and international standards.

A bit discouraging was a piece written in Education Week by Joanne Yatvin, former President of NCTE and a previous member of the National Reading Panel. She feels strongly that the CCSS in Reading are simply too challenging.

Either way, the train appears to be racing down the track rather quickly. In my role with ASCD and the NH State Affiliate, I argued on behalf of Common Core recently with legislators in Washington.  Earlier this month I hosted a webinar with Plymouth State University students on Common Core. I presented similar material with my own students at New England College, and my faculty and I spent a good part of a staff meeting this month dedicated to CCSS.

Teachers and administrators in my district took a full PD day in the fall to examine the CCSS and it was clear that there is strong rigor in the standards as we compared the new documents to our current curriculum. We asked the following questions and digitally highlighted the CCSS in the following way:

  • What Common Core standards are already represented in our current curriculum practice (what matches up with what you already do)? highlight in yellow
  • What Common Core Standards are represented in our current curriculum practice, but the Common Core standard is of a higher rigor? highlight in blue
  • What Common Core Standards are new, unfamiliar, or not currently addressed in our instructional practice? highlight in pink

A recent survey by ASCD of its Smartbrief readers yielded the following data:

“Where is your school or district in the implementation process for the common core standards?”

  • 34.62 percent said “We are providing professional development around the Common Core State Standards.”
  • 30.77 percent said “We have aligned the Common Core State Standards with some of our previous standards.”
  • 19.23 percent said “Unsure.”
  • 8.28 percent said “We are identifying curricular tools to aid instruction of the new standards.”
  • 7.10 percent said “My state is not adopting the Common Core State Standards.”

I am hopeful that the CCSS will force us all to examine our curriculums in the light of  pedagogical research and what we know works for children. The conversation must continue. Please comment on this post and we’ll continue the chat.

I have seen hashtags #ccss and #commoncore both being used on Twitter as a catalyst for conversation. 

Also check out a couple of resources I have:

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