Common Core Standards Daily Update // December 29, 2014

All this week, we are sending out some of our top News stories from 2014. Today, we celebrate teachers.

News You Can Use:

Educators for Higher Standards: “Teacher Voice: 2014 Year in Review”: In 2014, teacher voices were heard loud and clear in support of Common Core. Teachers from all over the country joined in the debate by sharing classroom success stories with the media. For this Year in Review, top stories by teachers are organized by state, making it easy to find teachers from your state who are successfully implementing Common Core.

What It Means: More than two-thirds of teachers who have worked closely with CCSS say they have seen an improvement in students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills, and 79% say they feel prepared to teach to the Standards.



Educators 4 Excellence: “It’s Working: A Teacher’s Report on Common Core”: Pat Sprinkle, a high school teacher in New York, says contrary to reports there are “faults in the Common Core and the exams,” CCSS provide “exactly what students need” by pushing teachers towards excellence and helping students “discover their passion.” “The higher you raise the bar, the higher our children will climb with the love and support from their school community,” Sprinkle adds. The author notes that creating lessons aligned with CCSS is “more difficult,” but that students deserve nothing less. On CCSS-aligned exams, Sprinkle says that although scores have dropped in New York, “we are finally being honest with our students and families about their starting point and the necessary growth we will need to make together.”

What It Means: As Sprinkle points out, teachers like him who have worked closely with CCSS overwhelmingly believe they will help students achieve more and support their implementation. The Standards do not determine what is taught in classrooms or how teachers lead their class, but raises the bar for classrooms by setting ambitious goals for all students.



Oregonian: “Former Teacher of the Year on the Value of Common Core”: Nanette Lehman, a 2nd grade teacher and Oregon’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, writes that under CCSS “students are gaining skills necessary for college and careers in the 21st century.” Citing a math problem example, Lehman says students are “talking like a mathematician,” and adds, “Yes, I think Common Core establishes solid foundational skills for students to thrive on their trajectory of learning.” Lehman notes because the Standards create greater congruity across states, she is able collaborate with teachers across the country. She concludes, “Common Core is a rich opportunity for our educational framework to increase teacher effectiveness and improve student learning. Our students deserve it!”

What It Means: Across the country, teachers like Lehman that have worked closely with CCSS support the Standards because they help student achieve to higher levels of learning. Because the Standards create more commonality across states, they help teacher share best practices and work with each other to unlock students’ potential.



Educators for Higher Standards: “Common Core: Bringing Calm to Classroom Chaos”:Common Core better ensures students transferring from around the country will have the skills to step into a new school without falling behind or relearning material they already covered, says Georgia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes. “The Common Coredoes not teach to the lowest common denominator – it expects that all students can – and should – reach higher academic heights,” Coes writes. She points out states voluntarily signed onto the Standards, and after five years most states continue to use them despite attacks from critics. “The longer students are exposed to the Common Core, the more likely they are to graduate high school prepared for the rigors of either college-level classes or for jumping right into a career.” Coes adds that CCSS does not “mandate we teach in a certain way,” and says teachers have found “more freedom to construct lessons under” the Standards. “Talk of repeal creates confusion and chaos that inhibits students’ academic progress and ultimate success. I implore our legislators to follow the lead of states like Kentucky, New York and Tennessee, and stay the course withCommon Core,” Coes concludes.

What It Means: For military families and others that move regularly, CCSS are especially important to better ensure those children do not fall behind or spend valuable time relearning material they already covered. The Standards create greater congruity across states, helping to ensure where a child grows up or goes to school does not determine the quality of education they have access to. As the Collaborative’s Karen Nussle wrote earlier this year, prior to CCSS “huge variances existed in standards between states, and even between school districts. It didn’t make sense nearly 20 percent of eighth-graders in Massachusetts could perform advanced level math, but only two percent of their peers in Mississippi could.”