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A shoddily constructed stool, no matter the quality of wood used or the care given to whittling its parts, will not stand. And so it is with Common Core implementation: No matter the strength of the standards (and their linked assessments and accountability systems), they will collapse if not implemented with fidelity at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. Unfortunately, these two survey reports from EPE’s research shop (one done in collaboration with Education First) elicit little confidence that this is happening. The first, a survey of 600 teachers, found that while most are aware of the content within the CCSS ELA standards (92 percent) and math standards (78 percent), only 33 percent believe their schools are primed to implement them in both subjects—and an even smaller percentage believe that their districts and states are prepared. The second survey asked state departments of education how far they’ve come in creating plans for CCSS implementation in the following three categories: teacher professional development, assessment alignment, and curricular-materials alignment. And on these fronts, we learn that only twenty-one states have, as of yet, constructed fully developed plans for all three (note that the report evaluates neither the strength of these plans nor the states’ adherence to their timetables). The take-home message: Common Core supporters need to keep hammering away at these implementation issues.
EPE Research Center, Findings from a National Survey of Teacher Perspectives on the Common Core (Bethesda, MD: EPE Research Center, 2013).
William Porter, et al., Moving Forward: A National Perspective on States’ Progress in Common Core State Standards Implementation Planning (Seattle, WA: Education First; Bethesda, MD: EPE Research Center, February 2013).