How to sustain Common Core efforts

Most U.S. states have pledged to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Educators and policy makers are heavily invested in the Common Core State Standards, and a new ASCD report aims to help school leaders effectively implement the standards to begin educational transformation.

Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability” identifies activities that educators and policy makers at all levels can undertake to implement the standards successfully.

The recommendations come from data gathered from field work, surveys, and educator summits. While focusing on tactics and strategies that educators across the nation can use to implement the new standards, the report delves deeper into the needs, input, and activities of educators in four states that are diverse in location and education practice—Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah.

The statewide summits presented an opportunity to determine educators’ level of understanding about the new standards and their professional development needs.

Across the nation, many educators’ perspectives were similar:

  • Educators’ knowledge and awareness of the Common Core State Standards were growing rapidly, but not necessarily in terms of the deeper level of mastery that students need to meet the standards.
  • Many educators were focused on the new common assessments and the accompanying technology issues associated with their deployment.
  • There was widespread initiative fatigue in the field.
  • The vast majority of educators want each child, in each school, in each community to be college and career ready, but there was a lack of understanding about the shift to higher standards.

Based on the data gathered at the statewide summits and field work, ASCD recommends the following priorities to move implementation of the Common Core standards forward:

  • Make sure educators deeply understand the standards and the key instructional shifts they require.
  • Vet instructional resources for quality and alignment with the standards.
  • Transform principals into instructional leaders.
  • Listen to educators about their professional learning needs.
  • Maximize opportunities for collaboration and capacity building through professional learning.
  • Engage higher-education partners.
  • Understand and plan for the coming common assessments.
  • Adopt technology with the priority being to meet teaching and learning needs—but make sure it also will work with the new assessments.
  • Align initiatives into comprehensive reforms.

More information about how to undertake each of these steps is available in the report.

“We asked educators to tell us what steps need to occur to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards, and they told us,” said ASCD Executive Director and CEO Gene R. Carter. “This report offers education leaders at all levels key recommendations for successfully implementing the new standards. ASCD will continue to work hard to provide educators the highest-quality programs, products, and services to support these recommendations in the future.”

The report is one of the projects funded through a three-year, $3 million dollar grant awarded to ASCD last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support implementation of the Common Core standards.

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