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Teacher Voices: Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards Rollout

Over the last three years, Tennessee launched a massive training effort to help teachers adjust to new, tougher common-core standards by recruiting 700 high-performing teachers within the state to coach more than 70,000 of their peers.

In the following audio interviews, hear teachers discuss the state's shift to the common-core standards and how it will change instruction. This is part of a special package on school-improvement efforts under a federal Race to the Top grant in Tennessee.

  • "If this is what’s coming, I want to be ahead of it; I don’t want to be behind it. I want to be on the front edge of what’s going on."

  • "It seems like there was a rush to do it and then they’d figure out the details later, but no one’s figured it out yet. They have not figured out how to measure teacher effectiveness with the common core."

  • "Now you want me to learn common-core standards and teach these rigorous standards? And you want my students to rise to the occasion, but they’re already four grade levels behind?"

  • "I think the most important part, I feel like, is the authentic learning for our students in terms of being able to let them be competitive on a global scale and not just locally and not just Memphis and not just for their school, but being able to compete with standards that are the same all across the world."

  • "I am absolutely enthusiastic about the shift to the Common Core State Standards. I think they provide the rigor that’s needed to make sure we continue to be the fastest-growing state in the nation."

  • "When the common core came along, especially after you really get a chance to sit down and work with it – not just read it, but really understand it and play with it – you really start seeing that there’s a lot that kids can get out of it."

  • "I think if people just did their research they would understand that common core is really a good thing for our nation. It helps us to be a more global society as well."

Photos and Audio: Brandon Dill | Design: Megan Garner

Vol. 33

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