To the Editor:
Linda Diamond aptly notes in her Commentary “The Cure for Common-Core Syndrome” (Aug. 28, 2013) that implementation is key to the Common Core State Standards’ ability to transform American education. She also notes that, as a nation, we don’t have a “history of thoroughly implementing or sustaining education reforms.”
Like an individual on a diet, new processes and habits need time to develop. Education leaders at all levels are under pressure to raise student achievement. Unless we are persistent and committed to long-term implementation, though, the temptation will be to change course when results aren’t quickly evident.
This is a challenge, because frequently the terms of superintendents, principals, school board members, and policymakers are shorter than the time needed to implement new strategies, i.e., developing new processes and habits to sustain higher student achievement. Because of this, new leaders are often tempted to simply change the course implemented by previous leaders, rather than assessing the value of continued implementation of ongoing strategies.
Solid strategies, such as raising academic standards, are nothing without rigorous implementation and sustainability. Engaging stakeholders to understand the process, goals, progress, and results of new strategies as they are being implemented is critical.
Like dieters, no one should expect a quick “win.”
Anne W. Miller
The writer is an associate at Cross & Joftus in Bethesda, Md., and previously served as the executive director of the Association of School Business Officials International.