Last week New York State's Education Commissioner John King Jr. spoke out about the Common Core, urging support from New Yorkers. He noted that teachers implementing the Common Core across the state are changing their approach to instruction and seeing the benefit of the new standards for their students.
"We need you to speak up," King said, speaking at a meeting of the Association for a Better New York, in Manhattan. "We need you in the debate, advocating for our students."
The Common Core is changing the face of education throughout the country, and New York has been at the forefront of this change. The second state to roll out assessments related to the new standards (Kentucky was the first), New York released the results from its first round of testing last August.
Both New York and Kentucky didn't do well in the first round of testing, with scores dropping by 30 to 40 points in both states. This is not unusual with any new assessment.
Many advocates for the Common Core, such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, point out that the new low test scores may simply reflect the need for things to be shaken up. After all, the goal of education is to prepare young people for the world they will enter as adults, not simply for performing well on a test.
The new standards have been the source of much controversy since their introduction, and that controversy only seems to be ramping up. A lot of the trouble seems to center around the need for greater dialogue about the new standards and why they are important, both between administrators and teachers and between educators and parents.
A poll conducted by the National Education Association showed that 75% of teachers, an impressive majority, support the new common core standards. As reflected in the same survey, the problems most teachers have with the Common Core are that they feel they haven't been adequately trained to teach them, and that they worry about being assessed against them before they and their students have been fully prepared.
Much of the more recent pushback against the CCSS has been among parents. Just as teachers need support, parents need to be included in a broader effort to increase awareness about what the Common Core is, and why it's important.
Dr. King Jr. has been visiting schools throughout New York, encouraging conversations about the new standards and learning about ways that educators are handling the change to the new standards. Dialogues like these are crucial to a successful shift to the Common Core.
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