The Common Core State Standards, which were adopted by more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, are one of the most significant shifts in American public education in decades. The standards aim to improve the quality of education by creating a set of academic expectations for the knowledge and skills that students need to be successful in college and the 21st century workplace.
Center for American Progress (CAP) sought to clarify standards in their conference “Common Core: The Politics, the Principles, and the Promise,” by addressing misinformation campaigns head-on and discussing the differences between those with political goals and educational ones. To capture the voices of key stakeholders, CAP invited panelists Margie Omero of Purple Insights, The Honorable George Miller, House of Representatives (D-CA); Lillian Lowery, Maryland State Superintendent; Major General Spider Marks, U.S. Army Retired; and Gregory Mullenholz, Assistant Principal of Maryvale Elementary School.
During the conference, CAP discussed the parent poll they had released in collaboration with Margie of Purple Insights, which revealed that while many parents state they are familiar with the Common Core standards, often those who report the highest levels of familiarity with the standards believe some of the most prevalent Common Core myths. Conference attendee and Development Director Lane Stickley, who works closely with districts around the nation to devise research-based solutions, remarked “While the Common Core standards have been politicized like many previous education initiatives, the extent to which it has been politicized is surprising. What is alarming is the proliferation of ‘myths’; a statistic that stuck with me is that only 5% of parents rightly know that the Common Core isn’t a federal mandate.”
Heather Popielski, one of Hanover’s K-12 research experts, is eager to share with her K-12 partners and fellow researchers the perspectives on Common Core voiced by key stakeholders, including lawmakers, administrators, educators, and parents. She noted “Many of the issues discussed—such as the persistence of certain myths about the standards, the need to allow sufficient time for implementation, and the importance of providing educators with necessary supports—are faced by our K-12 partners every day in their communities and their classrooms. It was truly valuable to hear the presenters’ thoughts on how to overcome these challenges and ensure that students get the college- and career-ready education they deserve.”
Lane confirms the value of attending: “I found the information discussed at the conference to be very informative,” she affirms. “In particular, I thought Major General Spider Marks represented a unique perspective that the continuity of CCSS is very beneficial to families who have a tendency to move frequently, such as military families. As such, this continuity between states is a much-needed benefit for many students.”
Common Core Resources: Guides to Explanation & Implementation
To address the commonly-held misconception that Common Core standards are not evidence-based, CAP released a report outlining the evidence and science used in the creation ofthe standards.
Created by Max Marchitello and Megan Wilhelm, The Cognitive Science Behind the Common Core covers a range of topics from knowledge scaffolding and student learning to promoting problem- and project-based learning. Complementing this report which details the research-based approach used to develop standards, the Center also released a Roadmap for a Successful Transition to the Common Core in States and Districts that includes a practitioner-perspective created by Carmel Martin, the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center.
Often, guides such as the Center’s Roadmapare primarily geared toward administrators. In order to better inform a wider audience around Common Core Implementation, Hanover Research created a series of Common Core Explanation brochures geared toward helping teachers, parents, students, and administrators understand and explain the standards to others. The brochures include key facts such as the origin and rationale for the standards, an explanation of the standards for English and Math, a Frequently Asked Question section, and Recommendations for Action for each specific group.
Twitter highlights from the conference:
— CAP Education (@EdProgress) September 26, 2014
— Erin Prangley (@eprangley) September 26, 2014
— John White (@4jlwhite) September 26, 2014
MD state superintendent Lowery: We used state assessments to INFORM teacher evals, not as a consequence. #forthecore
— Hilary Tone (@HToneTastic) September 26, 2014
— CAP Education (@EdProgress) September 26, 2014
— Jacki Ball (@BallJacki) September 26, 2014
.@askgeorge unleashed: This Congress doesn’t do science. So we wouldn’t have much to add [on next generation science standards]
— Politics K-12 (@PoliticsK12) September 26, 2014