Myth vs. Facts 5
Common Core Standards Restrict Teachers’ Ability to Lead Their Class
“[It] has come to the point where the Common Core is overstepping individual and local decision-making and taking away teacher autonomy and classroom management… society is too rich in diversity for a centralized government to dictate teaching methods and techniques.” Jamie Wandschneider, Iowa State Daily, April 15, 2014
Correcting the Record: Contrary to claims the Common Core will limit teachers’ ability to lead their classes, educators who have worked closely with the Standards actually say they unlock students’ and their own ability to collaborate and to dig deeper into classroom content.
As the Brookings Institute’s Joshua Bleiberg wrote earlier this year, having comparable education standards across states and school districts affords teachers the ability to collaborate with their counterparts across the county and to share learning techniques to unlock students’ full potential. In fact, nearly eight in 10 teachers say being able to work with other teachers is critical to successful implementation of strong education standards. About half said they saw a positive impact of students’ ability to collaborate through the Common Core Standards.
“The Common Core Standards have changed my teaching by providing flexibility to teach a concept in more than one way,” Tamara Morris, a third-grade teacher in Arizona reported in December. “Instead of just making the students memorize facts, we give them at least three different ways to solve for the answer.”
“The Common Core does not teach to the lowest common denominator – it expects that all students can – and should – reach higher academic heights,” Jemelleh Coes, Georgia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, wrote recently. “o be clear, Common Core does not mandate we teach a certain way. In fact, I and my colleagues were surprised to find that we had more freedom to construct lessons under the Core.”
“I am most certainly making decisions about what books, stories, and articles my students are reading as we work on the standards,” says Tricia Ebner, an English teacher for grades 6-8 in Ohio. “The Common Core are positive, powerful standards, and they’re good for Ohio’s students. These are the standards I want for my middle school students.”
Across the country, educators at every grade level share the same support for the Common Core Standards. A recent Scholastic poll found 79 percent of teachers feel prepared to teach to the Common Core and an overwhelming 84 percent of those who have worked with the Standards for more than a year believe implementation is going well. Perhaps most importantly, more than two-thirds of teachers in schools that have fully implemented Common Core Standards say they have seen a positive impact on their students’ ability to think critically and use reason skills.