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Teachers Weigh In on Common Core

"Listening to and Learning From Teachers"

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Elementary teachers have generally positive views of the Common Core State Standards, despite concerns of too-high expectations for students and too-little support for teachers, new findings say.

The Center on Education Policy, based in Washington, conducted five focus groups made up of K-5 teachers this past spring and summer. Twenty-six teachers from five districts in four states that have adopted the common core—Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin—were included. The focus groups were a follow-up to a nationally representative teacher survey released by the center in May.

Deciding What and How to Teach

Most elementary math teachers said they have more, or the same amount of, autonomy under the common core in comparison to their state’s previous math standards.

According to the report on the focus groups, participants praised the added rigor of the standards and their emphasis on "higher-order thinking and reasoning skills." Still, several teachers said the standards may be "pushing children too quickly" by not taking into account differences in maturity levels and academic readiness.

Teachers were also concerned that the common core's emphasis on academics has cut time for building students' social-emotional skills and creativity. Still, most elementary teachers previously surveyed by the center said their classroom autonomy has stayed the same or increased with the new standards.

The teachers said challenges in finding, developing, and revising common-core-aligned curricula, especially early on in the implementation process, proved difficult and time-consuming. They said common-core-aligned curricular materials are more readily available now.

Vol. 36, Issue 10, Page 5

Published in Print: October 26, 2016, as Teachers Weigh In on Common Core
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