A call for curricular support as Common Core standards take hold

“We are arguing for the tools and materials that teachers need,” she said. “With rich, sequential common curricula, amplified by state and local content—and with teacher preparation, classroom materials, student assessments, teacher development, and teacher evaluation all aimed at the mastery of that content—we can finally build the kind of coherent system that supports the achievement of all learners; the kind of system enjoyed by the world’s highest performing nations.”

“The curriculum is a necessary bridge between standards and assessments,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University. “We need to be thinking systemically—we can’t leave out the whole notion of curriculum support again, as we have in past years of curriculum reform. … Good curriculum is built with an understanding of learning in mind.”

For more on the Common Core standards, see:

Common Core standards call for uncommon shifts in practices

Viewpoint: School leaders need more help, and not red tape, to transform education

States having problems with Common Core standards

The statement reads:

We, the undersigned, representing viewpoints from across the political and educational spectrum, believe that whether children live in Mississippi or Minnesota, Berkeley, or the Bronx, our expectations for their achievement should be equally high.

We therefore applaud the goals of the recently released Common Core State Standards, already adopted in most states, which articulate a much clearer vision of what students should learn and be able to do as they progress through school. For our nation, this represents a major advance toward declaring that “equal educational opportunity” is a top priority — not empty rhetoric.

We also caution that attaining the goals provided by these standards requires a clear road map in the form of rich, common curriculum content, along with resources to support successfully teaching all students to mastery. Shared curriculum in the core academic subjects would give shape and substance to the standards, and provide common ground for the creation of coherent, high-quality instructional supports — especially texts and other materials, assessments, and teacher training.

To accomplish this, our nation must finally answer questions it has avoided for generations: What is it, precisely, that we expect all educated citizens to have learned? What explicit knowledge, skills, and understanding of content will help define the day-to-day work of teaching and learning?

Its release comes at a time when, after decades of debate, the nation is on its way to having common, voluntary standards in mathematics and English/language arts.

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