The Common Core comes with new instructional requirements, administrators said in a survey.

A new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) finds that states are actively working to implement the Common Core State Standards through planning, professional development, and technical assistance, although many adopting states said they are struggling to find enough resources and manpower to implement the new standards effectively.

The report surveyed 40 states, of which all are adopting the Common Core State Standards English/language arts standards, and 39 of the responding states are adopting the math standards. All surveyed states said they agreed that implementing the Common Core State Standards will improve student achievement because the standards are more rigorous than their previous standards.

“It is pretty clear that most state leaders believe the Common Core represents a significant shift toward more rigorous academic standards in math and English language arts and that students will benefit from that increased rigor,” said CEP Executive Director Maria Ferguson. “It is equally clear that states are facing significant challenges in preparing and supporting teachers and school leaders as they implement the standards across grades.”

(Next page: What the results say about Common Core implementation)

Thirty of the states are already teaching Common Core-aligned math and English/language arts curricula in at least some of their districts or in some grades. Thirty-nine states are creating and disseminating state implementation plans, 38 have analyzed how their previous standards compare to the Common Core State Standards, and 29 are revising and creating curriculum guides or materials aligned to the new standards.

Twenty-five states strongly agreed that the Common Core State Standards will require “fundamental changes in instruction,” and 11 states agreed, while three were unsure. Twenty-two states strongly agreed that the Common Core English/language arts standards will require fundamental instructional changes, 15 agreed, one state was unsure, and two states disagreed.

Most states surveyed said they are currently working with districts and schools to implement Common Core activities such as informational meetings (40 states), technical assistance (39 states), and developing materials to help districts prepare principals to align their instructional leadership to the Common Core State Standards.

Education spending cuts have impacted Common Core State Standards implementation. In all, 20 states experienced decreased or flat K-12 budgets and 28 saw decreased or flat budgets for state educational agency operations. Twelve states that experienced budget cuts or freezes said that eliminated or scaled down at least one Common Core State Standards-related activity because of budget constraints. Six states said they cut out or reduced some Common Core assessment-related technology spending and five eliminated Common Core-related technical assistance to schools and districts.

More findings include:

  • 37 states are developing and distributing professional development materials and guides that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards
  • 36 are conducting statewide professional development initiatives
  • 34 are holding Common Core State Standards briefings for faculty in postsecondary schools of education
  • 33 work with higher education institutions to align teacher prep programs with the Common Core State Standards

A second report also released Aug. 7 tracks professional development as it relates to the Common Core State Standards. Both reports are based on a survey of state deputy superintendents or designated administrators in 40 of the 46 states that have adopted the CCSS in one or both subjects.  They are the second and third reports in a series on states’ progress in implementing the Common Core.