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Topic: [ncsm-members] Preparedness For Common Standards
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] Preparedness For Common Standards
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 6:29 PM
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From Education Week [American Education's Newspaper of Record],
Monday, March 19, 2012. See
Preparedness For Common Standards: A Work in Progress

By Catherine Gewertz

Three years can seem like a lot of time or a little, depending on
your perspective. I'm betting that when it comes to the Common Core
State Standards, most teachers feel like three years isn't a lot.

Three years from now is when the assessments designed for the
standards are supposed to be fully operational. Assuming those tests
end up being faithful reflections of the standards, students will be
tested on how well they've mastered the expectations outlined there.
And those results, in turn, are supposed to reflect whether 11th
graders are ready for college and careers, and whether younger
students are on track to be.

We've written before about the educator corps' own journey toward
readiness. It's a seriously big job to reach millions of teachers and
principals nationwide with the key messages of the standards, let
alone to reach deeply enough to change long-held practice. And that's
where the weird, contradictory sense of time comes in: is three years
enough or too little to get that job done?

A couple of posts by my colleagues recently put me in mind of the
questions hanging over the professional-development piece of the
common standards. Lesli Maxwell reported recently that teachers in
California don't exactly feel prepared to manage the bridging
required to allow English learners to access the standards. And Erik
Robelen reported last week on a new study that found, among other
things, that most teachers know about the standards, but few feel
fully prepared to teach them.

The study showed half of teachers feeling "somewhat prepared," with
about one quarter on either side of that feeling "very prepared" or
"somewhat/very unprepared."

So the optimistic spin is that the vast middle chunk shows how far
the system has come since the standards were unveiled nearly two
years ago. But the pessimistic spin is that there is still a long way
to go. Having just come back from a trip to Kentucky, where I watched
the intense focus on the common core play out in two school
districts, I can tell you that there is some very passionate work
going on out there. How far that reaches, and how it takes hold, will
bear watching.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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