Covering the Common Core State Standards, I’ve found it’s pretty hard to escape the conclusion that a deep and comprehensive implementation is going to be pretty tough going in just about every corner of the country. That’s why we spent six months watching how one district’s very aggressive English/language arts implementation trickles down to its schools.
Part 2 of our series, “Common Core: A Steep Climb,” is posted on edweek.org. You can find Part 1, which appeared two weeks ago, there as well.
It’s true, of course, that debate about the common core is bubbling around the District of Columbia as it does this work. In some states, activists and lawmakers are calling the standards into question for an array of reasons. We here at Curriculum Matters, and our intrepid State EdWatch reporter, Andrew Ujifusa, have covered this landscape for you: folks saying that the standards are an intrusion of federal will over local decisionmaking, that they’re too challenging or not challenging enough, that they’re “content-free,” that they usurp teachers’ discretion, that teachers shouldn’t be expected to bring students to mastery on new standards so soon.
What kind of impact those arguments will have on the standards is anyone’s guess at this point. But in the meantime, those who have decided to move ahead big-time with the standards have a heavy lift on their hands. Sitting in one classroom, and roaming the halls of one school, month after month, showed me nothing if not that. Many, many educators doing their darnedest to do what they think is right by their students, with a very steep hill ahead.
Track the progress of that work when Part 3 of the series appears next week, and when Part 4 appears in late summer.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.