COMMON CORE: A COMMON PROBLEM
Heard any good Common Core math jokes lately? For those trying to implement Common Core effectively, those jokes are anything but funny. Instead let’s try a quick word problem:
If a consortium of non-educators gets together to create a common set of standards over the period of two years and those standards are adopted by 45 states before they are even completed, and if those states receive millions in grant money to hastily implement those standards along with rigorous assessments and teacher evaluation systems, and if the media turns the process into a political hot topic, and if textbook companies exploit the opportunity to make money, what will the impact on education be for your child?
The answer is… x=one hot mess.
However, all is not lost. This is not the first time that controversial standards or assessments have been put into place nor is it the first time that a major shift in education has been poorly and hastily implemented.
TO WORRY OR NOT TO WORRY
Having taught for 10 years and studied education as a doctoral student, I know that having good teachers and a solid school community can be more than sufficient to mitigate the ill effects of questionable policies and reform. As an educator, doctoral student, and parent, I can honestly say that I have no problem with the Common Core itself. I have read the Standards and feel confident that given the time and space to do so, good teachers would have no problem using them effectively to support student learning and success.
In fact, I spent some time last year studying the public response to the Common Core and found that often when people complain about the Common Core, they are actually complaining about something else other than the Standards, such as assessments, teacher evaluations, or “Common Core Aligned” resources and curriculum.
If we are going to have a productive and meaningful conversation about the Common Core and other reform measures, we need to start by having a common understanding of the terms involved as well as a constructive conversation of how we in the Westowne community can support teachers and students during this time of transition.
HOW TO MOVE BEYOND THE HYPE
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of posts to bring a bit of clarity and hope to the conversation:
1. Common Understanding—What do we mean by Race to the Top, Common Core, and PARCC?
2. Common Vision—What are the pros and cons of having a Common Core?
3. Common Ground—What are we really fighting about?
4. Common Goals—Supporting Students and Teachers during Transition
Let me know if there are other topics that we can address to help you understand these issues!