Teachers weigh in on CCSS
By Megan on July 27th, 2012
This is one in a series of posts examining the Common Core State Standards and the conversation surrounding their impact on teaching and learning.
Recently, Francie Alexander, our Chief Academic Officer, addressed Scholastic employees on the topic of Common Core State Standards. During her presentation, someone asked “How receptive are teachers to the changes the Common Core will bring about?” This struck me as a very interesting question.
Obviously teachers have strong opinions about their jobs and their students and the future of their profession, but at the end of the day, when it comes to adoption of CCSS, do they really have a choice? This question of teacher satisfaction stuck with me for a while, so I asked our Teacher team here at Scholastic if I could post the below question on their Facebook wall, which is visited by tens of thousands of teachers each day:
As summer winds down and you’re preparing for the start of school, how is your school approaching CCSS, and how do you feel about it? What do you feel the most confident in or ready for? What are you most nervous or concerned about? Share it here—we want to hear your thoughts!
I was a little hesitant to post this, as I worried it may cause a deluge of frustrated comments, or maybe silence, if teachers are just tired of tackling this topic ad nauseam. But to the contrary, the feedback was calm, strong-minded and for me, indicative of how diverse the feelings are surrounding CCSS is in this time of change.
The first reaction was “Whoa now, summer is NOT winding down.” (OK, my bad.) While other reactions were that CCSS does not concern them because their state isn’t participating.
Some teachers are excited and optimistic: Wendy C. wrote, “we are already in the thick of it, and I personally LOVE it! It is not that different from what we already do, and it is great for three reasons: 1. It will eventually require the entire country to be on the same page regarding curriculum and instruction, 2. It takes more of the curriculum the country teachers already and pulls out the “big picture” items on which to focus on, such as the theme of “systems” which spans K-12. If we all teach to the big pcture, each year the students’ learning becomes deeper. And finally, 3. It doesn’t say “teach more readin” or “teach more science”; it instead says the literacy is the most important than ALL of it. It is the building block on the entire curriculum, and quality literature should be integrated into every subject. The problem has been trying to find literature that fits what we’re teaching. The Core provides us grade appropriate lists to help those who don’t know already how to get started.”
Others agreed that not much is changing for them, or that maybe those changes are less severe than originally perceived to be.
Yet several expressed concern, mainly it seems about support, preparation, and training. “We’re kind of on our own to leave out what doesn’t match and fill in the gaps, mostly in math,” says Sue G.
Several teachers worried about resources, and whether there would be enough, and if they’d be up-to-date. Lea R. says “My concern is that my district will not be providing new books or materials that align with CCSS for a couple of years. I know there is a lot of material out there I can access, but I hate how much more work (and out of pocket expense) it’s going to be until the district provides what we need.”
Kenny H. agreed: “We adopted the CCSS last year. Our textbooks are aligned with the previous standards. I’m left fishing for resources for content that I’m responsible for teaching.”
Some commented about particular subjects: Andrea Q. from xxx said “I’m mostly worried about Math! I’m also worried we’re going to student-led conferences. I wish I had a better idea of how to go about starting the year for both.”
As an English teacher, Tracy S. says she’s “forced to cut down on literature and increase Science and Social Studies –related reading in my classes due to the misinterpretation of the CCSS by my administration.”
A few teachers expressed confidence in the training their school is providing: “We have had a multitude of training opportunities,” wrote Christina C. “I have attended three sessions and two more to come on CCSS reading, and two on Math. Plus, they plan to have more on text complexity and performance tasks as the year progresses.”
Across the board, teachers are excited about the free resources on Pinterest and other teacher blogs. And of course, it all comes down to the students that are sitting in the chairs in front of them. An appropriate end to the provocative dialogue on the wall: many “liked” one teacher’s comment to do “the best I can with what I have!”
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