NBC was onto something when the network started the more you know public-awareness campaign 25 years ago. Today, Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released a new survey that, according to Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Education, showed that “the more teachers get into the Common Core, the more they believe in it.” In fact:
- 84% of teachers who have experienced more than one year of full implementation say they are enthusiastic about the implementation of the new standards.
- 79% of teachers say they feel “very” or “somewhat” prepared to teach under the new standards, up from 71% last year.
- About two-thirds (68%) say implementation is “going well” in their schools, up from 62% last year.
Teachers Need Support, and They’re Getting It
But beyond just more time and experience, we know that teachers need high-quality supports and resources:
Teachers identify Common Core-aligned instructional materials (86%), quality professional development (84%), additional planning time (78%) and opportunities to collaborate (78%) as critical to ensure successful implementation.
And across the nation, we have seen states and districts rise to this challenge:
- In New Jersey, more than 20,000 of its educators have been trained on the new standards. In the past few years, the state has developed K-12 model curriculum units and diagnostic tests aligned to Common Core mathematics and English to provide regular check-ins on how kids are doing. The enhanced curricula were posted on the state’s model curriculum website and the newly developed NJ Educator Resource Exchange.
- Last school year, the State of Tennessee hired more than 700 educators statewide to train and provide ongoing support for the CCSS English and mathematics transition. More than 30,000 educators—including teachers, principals, higher education faculty and district leadership—completed the state’s training to prepare for full implementation of the new standards.
- Hawaii helped schools establish teams of reviewers that support teachers in using data to drive instructional improvements and make course corrections in the classroom-level implementation of new standards and assessments.
- In New York, EngageNY.org provides a growing set of materials, resources and videos to educators and families to support the transition to the CCSS and other key initiatives. The materials are used by teachers and leaders within the state as well as across the country.
With only 49% of all Americans having even a basic understanding of what Common Core is, now more than ever we need to cut through the rhetoric and spotlight the hard work of teachers and school leaders across the country. We need less heat on the politics of Common Core and more light on how the standards can make a difference in classroom learning and student achievement.