by Christopher Maricle, Policy & Programs Officer III
If the implementation of the Common Core State Standards is to be successful, it will be because of teachers. All of the planning, budgeting, assessment development and communication won’t matter at all if the efforts are not ultimately focused on preparing teachers. Jeff Tucker, assistant superintendent for Education Services for the Placer Union High School District, summarized it well during CSBA’s June 19 webcast, “Navigating the Implementation of Common Core”: “For the most part, this is being welcomed … but there is anxiety. They are being asked to do things that they necessarily have not been asked to do before.”
With approximately $200 per student to spend on Common Core implementation over the next two years, boards have work to do. They will need to have a plan for staff to use the funds, hold a public hearing to inform the community, and then adopt that plan at a subsequent board meeting. This will require some conversations about long-term strategy, because the way this money gets spent now may determine strategy for implementation over the next several years. It is not necessarily a deeply complicated conversation. But, that does not make it any less important. Achieving clarity on how to move forward is one of the most important things the board can do now to make Common Core work, and to ensure achievement for all students. But, it won’t work if it doesn’t work for teachers.