A report released last week by the Center on Education Policy provides one of the first early glimpses of how districts are solving one of the most difficult problems of putting the Common Core State Standards into practice. Overwhelmingly, they’re creating their curricula locally.
More than two-thirds of districts reported that their, and half said the district is creating it.
Many districts are also turning to their states for curricular help. Four in 10 district leaders reported using materials developed by their states. Fewer than 15 percent said they were drawing on curricular resources from other states. But more than four in 10 district leaders said they were collaborating with their state, or with other districts in their state, to craft common-core instructional resources.
Most leaders of districts in states where the Common Core State Standards have been adopted say all of their school principals and English/language arts and mathematics teachers will be trained and ready to implement the standards by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
SOURCE: The Center on Education Policy
The Center on Education Policy survey echoes other research, and widespread talk in the field, that finding or developing curriculum materials for the common core is a challenge. Nine in 10 district leaders said so in the new CEP study.
But the new details on local curriculum design offer a notable response to critics who feared the common core would produce one national curriculum. The survey suggests that big publishers aren’t dominating districts’ common-core curriculum choices. Fewer than four in 10 reported using materials from for-profit organizations. Fewer than 15 percent said they are using materials from private, nonprofit groups.
“Teachers trust teachers,” said Elena Balint, the manager of the American Federation of Teachers’ ShareMyLesson project, an online storehouse of instructional resources created and uploaded by teachers. “It’s their area of expertise to create materials and lesson plans that work for their classrooms.”
Many districts lag in providing professional development for the common core. Only two-thirds of district leaders reported that 90 percent or more of their teachers had participated in some form of training for the common core by the 2013-14 school year.
A version of this article appeared in the November 05, 2014 edition of Education Week as Study: Most Common-Core Materials Developed by Teachers, Districts