What is Common Core?
- Common Core is often confused for being curriculum, instructional practice and a state assessment. Common Core is merely a set of standards - what students at each grade level should know and be able to do.
My stance on Common Core:
- Common Core State Standards are not federally-mandated, although there has been pressure by the federal government to adopt these standards, as well as the aligned Smarter Balanced Assessment, in order to qualify for Race to the Top grants that were made available by the Department of Education. I do not believe this pressure was healthy, nor was the urgency of the process to apply for these large sums of money.
- That being said, I believe in the power of standards. I believe we should expect that students, no matter where they reside in our state, have access to the same content. What should not be uniform is how educators in each community address the standards. I will advocate against the idea that all teachers use the same textbooks or instructional practices in a content area. We ought to be empowering communities to use resources and strategies that are most effective for the students they serve.
- How do standards connect to assessment? The state test should align to the standards teachers are teaching in their classrooms. However, the test should be crafted in such a way that the format is not a barrier to learning about student progress. The results of the SBA should give us information on the content students know and whether they are able to think critically, not whether or not they are able to manipulate a mouse or access the technology. These are conversations that must be had now that we have had 3 years of experience with the test to ensure the product we are paying for is providing us with the information we need to best serve all students. Please visit my “State Testing” Page for more information on my stances regarding assessment.