LIVE @ ISTE 2024: Exclusive Coverage

States having problems with Common Core standards


Not surprisingly, a lack of funding was listed by states as a roadblock to implementation.

As states move forward in their adoption of the Common Core State Standards, a new survey reveals that thorough implementation of these standards is still years away, and many states are forgetting a key piece of the common standards movement: linking to postsecondary education.

Think of it like the all-too-common New Year’s resolution to work out more frequently—you feel good buying that gym membership, and your friends might pat you on the back, but then what happens? It sounds good in theory, but it ends up being a daunting task: Are you really going to have to run on that treadmill?

In a survey released today, titled “States’ Progress and Challenges in Implementing Common Core State Standards,” by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), states were asked whether they planned to make certain changes in their policies and practices for elementary and secondary education as part of their approach to implementing the common standards, and how soon these changes would be fully implemented.

For more on the common standards movement:

Final common standards in English, math released

Analysis: ‘Common Core’ standards clearer, more rigorous

States given millions for new assessments

Did Race to the Top help or hurt the push for a common curriculum?

As of press time, 43 states had adopted the Common Core standards, as well as the District of Columbia. Back in October and November, when the CEP conducted its survey, 32 states had adopted the standards and four had provisionally adopted the standards. CEP surveyed these 36 states and uncovered some interesting findings.

For example, though many states plan major changes to their assessments, curriculum materials, professional development, and teacher evaluation in adopting the new state standards, many of these changes are years away from being realized: 23 of the 32 states that plan to require school districts to adopt the Common Core standards do not expect to implement these requirements fully until 2013 or later.

The survey also found that states lack solid plans to coordinate with higher education on linking college admission requirements or curriculum to the common standards. Just seven states plan to align first-year undergraduate core curriculum with the standards, while 26 states did not know if this change would be implemented and three said it would not.

What’s more, 24 states did not know if their undergraduate admissions requirements would be aligned to the standards, while eight said they would and four said they would not.

These numbers are disheartening, considering that a main goal of the Common Core state standards is to ensure that high school graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers, CEP said.

For more on the common standards movement:

Final common standards in English, math released

Analysis: ‘Common Core’ standards clearer, more rigorous

States given millions for new assessments

Did Race to the Top help or hurt the push for a common curriculum?

“Accomplishing this goal will require coordination between the elementary, secondary, and higher-education systems,” said the report.

Although most adopting states will require their school districts to implement the standards, the majority are not requiring districts to change their curriculum and teacher programs to support, or complement, this requirement.

Why the trouble?

Though getting the majority of states to adopt a common set of rigorous standards might seem like the hardest hurdle, realizing the implementation in an effective, sustainable plan will be the hardest part, CEP speculates.

“It is disappointing to learn that major changes will not occur for several years, but this is probably due to the enormity of the task and the lack of new funds,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO.

Indeed, although 11 states are Race to the Top (RttT) funding recipients, the rest of the states are not, meaning implementation of the common standards might take longer.

For example, 10 out of the 11 RttT recipients plan to create or revise educator systems linked to student mastery of the Common Core standards—a major challenge named by 19 states as a result of funding constraints.

Also, though 23 of the 32 states that will require school districts to fully implement the common standards say this implementation won’t happen until 2013-14, several of the states that expect to accomplish major implementation changes in teacher certification, teacher evaluation, and assessment by 2012 are RttT winners.

These winners also make up a majority of the states that expect to put in place standards-related initiatives for low-performing schools by 2012 or to require districts to implement the common standards by that time.

For more on the common standards movement:

Final common standards in English, math released

Analysis: ‘Common Core’ standards clearer, more rigorous

States given millions for new assessments

Did Race to the Top help or hurt the push for a common curriculum?

“Funding will always be a major issue for schools, but especially now with such a large undertaking during a difficult economy,” said Chris Minnich, director of membership for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)—the organization that, along with the National Governors Association (NGA), developed the standards—and former strategic initiative director of standards, assessment, and accountability for CCSSO. “Now’s the time to really re-evaluate where we’re putting our dollars.”

Minnich continued: “This amount of change is … not going to happen overnight. In order for effective communication to happen between the state, the districts, the teachers, and higher-education organizations, there needs to be time to do this.”

Besides the seemingly long timeline for implementation, CEP said it’s also concerned about the lack of linkage between these standards and higher education.

According to the survey, the uncertainty of state respondents about their plans for aligning the common standards with higher-education programs “may reflect a broader disconnect between the agencies that administer elementary-secondary and postsecondary education.”

One state respondent summarized the situation this way: “We are currently working to educate our higher-ed programs about the Common Core [state standards] but have little control over their systems.”

“The point of the standards is to prepare students for postsecondary education or employment,” said Jennings. “Therefore, it should be of great concern that the states don’t know if the standards will have an effect on higher education.”

“This may not be the case for all states,” said Minnich, “since we’ve been talking to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities [AASCU] and other national higher-education organizations and they’ve expressed their deep commitment to implementing and working with these standards.”

Though the road forward to successful implementation of the common standards might look unstructured and more than a bit daunting, CEP and CCSSO say progress will happen.

“The movement towards common state standards clearly has a momentum that can help states navigate through the hard work ahead,” says the report.

For more on the common standards movement:

Final common standards in English, math released

Analysis: ‘Common Core’ standards clearer, more rigorous

States given millions for new assessments

Did Race to the Top help or hurt the push for a common curriculum?

“You have to remember that this is a state-led initiative, not a federal one, and so far states have really shown amazing leadership. It’s this leadership that we’re counting on to continue as these standards take root,” said Minnich.

Minnich hopes the survey will help bring to light what the states really need to work on and where to go from here.

Jennings said state implementation of the common standards must be followed closely, because it holds such hope for change. CEP will continue to monitor and report in this area, he said.

Links:

CEP

CCSSO

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Meris Stansbury

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.

Comments are closed.

New Resource Center
Explore the latest information we’ve curated to help educators understand and embrace the ever-evolving science of reading.
Get Free Access Today!

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Email Newsletters:

By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.