U.S. moves closer to common standards

PBS TeacherLine is funded through a federal Ready To Teach grant, and the organization is reaching the end of its five-year grant cycle. Goode said PBS TeacherLine’s approach to the common core standards will be a key component of its next grant application.

“We’ve been paying it close attention; we’re quite supportive of the initiative,” said Rich Patz, vice president of research for publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill, which is an endorsing partner of the common core movement.

The initiative calls for states to adopt the common standards within three years, and Patz said different states are likely to adopt them at different rates and might be holding off on other reform efforts in anticipation of this effort.

“Everyone’s paying attention to this, and they’re probably not doing things they would otherwise be doing, like launching their own internal standards reviews,” he said. “They’re preparing to consider these common standards, concerns about the transition and making that successful, and getting materials in place for instruction.”

The common standards “will affect our product development plans, but that’s to be expected and it’s not terribly disruptive,” Patz said. “There’s always a dynamic and evolving marketplace. There isn’t a lowering of the standards, so I think that’s a good thing.”

He added: “It will change what we have to do. We are responding and welcome the development, and we’ll bring products to the market that support the learning of the common core standards.”

Jim Ryan, vice president of marketing for Key Curriculum Press, and Elizabeth DeCarli, the company’s mathematics product manager, said common core standards present “a huge advantage for those of us who are developing materials for students.”

DeCarli said implementing common core standards will let publishers and educators focus more on high-quality content, classroom practice, and groups of students who might need extra help.

“Any educational piece, whether it’s an online course or a textbook, that sells to different state markets, has to spend time and money on the correlation to different state standards,” DeCarli said. “It would be so nice if that time, energy, and thinking could be directed to a deeper assessment rather than [meeting the various needs of] every state. I could see the resources being used in a much more productive way regarding student thinking and ways to improve how we’re teaching.”

Said Ryan: “If we have a set of national standards, you could spend more time on your field testing, your feedback, and look at issues of coherence and retention among students, rather than look at topics on a modular form.”

Common standards also will help to make textbooks and digital learning materials more relevant to all students.

“Currently, the books that weigh five pounds are national books that incorporate everyone’s different standards,” Ryan said. “You have to put in extra lessons so you can sell in California, other extras so that you can sell in Texas, and so on. Teachers have to weed through and determine what parts of this book they have to teach.”


Common Core Standards Initiative

Key Curriculum Press

American Association of Publishers


PBS TeacherLine

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