A call for curricular support as Common Core standards take hold


Although this recent state-led effort is an important first step, Common Core supporters say it is not sufficient to achieve a well-functioning education system that offers both excellence and opportunity—proper curriculum and support must accompany the effort.

“The implementation doesn’t get translated often to the people who are doing the work in the classroom,” said Barbara Byrd Bennett, chief academic and accountability officer in the Detroit Public Schools. “They need the resources, directions, development guides, materials, and sample lessons.”

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 makes clear that its signers are not urging states to use a single or a national curriculum. Rather, a number of curricula could be developed—all aligned to the common standards and all of high quality. States could choose among curricula created by others, create their own, or work with other states to develop shared curriculum. States and districts then could fit additional content they might choose into their overall educational program.

The statement says that states also must develop, or have access to, curricula that:

  • Lay out a clear and practical design for learning the disciplines that teachers can use to help students acquire the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn in core academic subjects;
  • Illuminate grade-level expectations and learning progressions for teaching and learning in a coherent and substantive manner;
  • Involve teachers and other learning experts in their development;
  • Fit available instructional time, as well as leave adequate time for the inclusion of local content; and
  • Include sample lessons, examples of student work, and assessments that help teachers focus instruction and measure student outcomes.

With help from the U.S. Department of Education, many states already have begun to work together to design new assessment systems aligned with the new standards, said Eugenia Kemble, executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute.

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