I believe that the right combination of rigorous standards, effective assessments, and strong implementation can transform teaching and drive outstanding student achievement.
But we have a long road ahead to reach that goal. The quality of state standards has been all over the map and implementation of those standards has been mixed at best. Now that nearly every state has adopted the Common Core, states have a chance to reboot and to get standards- and assessment-driven reform right.
To get there we will have to find the right answers to some key questions. How do we ensure the assessment consortia develop the rigorous assessments we need? Will state-driven professional development be focused where it needs to be? Will states focus too much on mandating curricular and instructional materials? Not enough? And, most importantly, will district leaders and teachers embrace the new standards and drive the classroom-level changes we need? Here, I hope to explore these questions and more.
But first a few answers about how I ended up as editor of Common Core Watch: I’m a Connecticut-based education policy analyst who’s been committed to and working in education for 15 years. I began as a classroom teacher, taught both middle and high school and served as a high school department chair. I currently work as a senior director here at Fordham, leading all of our projects related to standards. This is my second stint at Fordham—I worked here from 2003-2005, but left to spend more time on the ground and in schools. From 2005 until 2010 I worked as the senior director of curriculum and professional development at Achievement First, a charter management organization that operates K-12 schools in both New York and Connecticut. My time at Achievement First—and the mistakes I made and learned from over the course of my tenure there—helped shape my vision for standards implementation.
I hope that this blog will be a conversation that, like my past, straddles policy and practice: a place where we can talk about what great instruction looks like and how policymakers can work to ensure that policies support teachers and leaders in their work to drive outstanding student achievement.