I admit it - I've read the C and E Standards. In my former role as a math coordinator of a Preschool-12 school district (9 years), I found the CE Standards most usable to open discussion and expand thinking. We did a District curriculum study of our mathematics program and we bought copies of the Standards for every building. We spent two years looking at our curriculum, where we wanted it to be, what we wanted to deemphasize and what we wanted to drop (the hardest part.) We did not view the Standards as a Bible, but rather as a challenge to our thinking. We knew the technology had changed the role of mathematics education, but we weren't ready to dump all the curriculum we had grown up with. We're moving in that direction slowly . . . but surely. The past two years I've used the Professional Teaching Standards as an organizer for Demonstration classroom discussions. They provide a powerful picture of what a mathematics learning community can look like and provide a context for discussion after we have observed the demo classrooms. I have yet to read the final version of the assessment standards, but I am sure they also will provide a powerful tool for learning. I have found the content in the Standards to be thought-provoking and, yes, a standard to work towards. Many teachers in our district are in the twilight of their teaching careers. These documents have provided a very usable means of challenging their thinking. They also provide a learning tool for our new teachers. (In fact, I am disappointed when I interview potential candidates and they don't know what the Standards are or what they say. I find this most often among our candidates for secondary classrooms (they've had lots of mathematics, but not as much pedagogy as the elementary teachers. Many times the candidates sound as though they could have come out of school in the 60s. Their thinking could use a kick start into the next century as well as the seasoned teachers.) I don't know that this moves this conversation ahead, but I thought perhaps we could discuss ways in which we had used the Standards and how it worked.
Tonya Urbatsch Director of Staff Development/Student Assessment Davenport, Iowa