"Devil's in the details"

Fordham’s latest publication "Future Shock: Early Common Core Implementation Lessons from Ohio" reports Ohio’s progress in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Fordham selected award-winning journalist Ellen Belcher to interview fifteen educators to elicit on-the-ground responses about how well the Common Core is being implemented. We encourage you to read the entire report, which can be downloaded here. But to whet your appetite, we provide here a short summary and a few quotes that illustrate the unifying themes of this report.

Adopted by the Buckeye State in 2010 and to be implemented starting in 2014-15, CCSS establishes a framework for what K-12 students across the country are expected to learn. For many students, CCSS will raise their standard of learning, and our interviewees universally champion these higher standards. The transition to the more demanding standards also concerns educators, who worry about anything from training teachers to online assessments to purchasing textbooks. Kimbre Lange, an Oakwood City Schools teacher, sums up educators’ optimism for the Core but peppered with caution: "We all get the big picture, but the devil is in the details."

Buy-In for the Core

Greater Depth in Core Standards

"The horror of having too much to teach is less (under the Common Core)." Steve Dackin, Reynoldsburg City Schools

"Teachers have confidence in the Core. They believe that less is more." Eric Gordon, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

"I’m very inspired. Finally we’re being allowed to do what we knew was right." Katie Hofmann, Cincinnati Public Schools

Opportunities for Collaboration

"Opening up the world of education to small districts…It’s critical to be able to talk to colleagues outside of your neighborhood." Tony Dunn, Belpre City School District

"Our network has increased. Now we can tap into other states." Dee Martindale, Reynoldsburg City Schools

High Standards for All Students

"This is not your Mom and Dad’s high school. We’re raising the bar for all kids." Steve Dackin, Reynoldsburg City Schools

"We need to standardize things so children are not crippled by their zip code." Tony Dunn, Belpre City School District

Concerns about Core Implementation

Teaching Models and Materials

"The Ohio Department of Education should give good models to show what quality work looks like." Dee Martindale, Reynoldsburg City Schools

"Our materials are not designed for the depth of the Common Core." Eric Gordon, Cleveland Metropolitan City School District

"I don’t think the vendors understand it yet, even though they say they do." Sheila Radke, Cincinnati Public Schools

Instructional Style Changes

"The instruction should look different." Laura Mitchell, Cincinnati Public Schools

"If you go into a classroom and kids are working quietly, you better question what’s going on." Katie Hofmann, Cincinnati Public Schools

"They [administrators] better hear some noise." Sheila Radtke, Cincinnati Public Schools

2014-15 Report Card Results

"Parents won’t understand how severe it [the change] is until that report card is on the evening news." Paul Scott, Ohio Connections Academy

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