The Center for Education Policy recently released a three-part series of reports reviewing the Common Core State standards implementation with focuses on the federal role, state progress and challenges, and teacher preparation, training, and assessments for the new standards. In the second of this series, the progress and challenges of states were reviewed through a survey of distributed to state deputy education superintendents’ offices. Of the 45 states and D.C. adopting Common Core, 39 states and D.C. participated along with Minnesota (adopting only the ELA standards). The CEP surveyed states’ progress by inquiring on the state perceptions of the standards, curriculum alignment, implementation activities, state collaboration, state funding, challenges, and state education agency (SEA) capacity. The responses are an encouraging sign for many state-level Common Core advocates. The CEP found that all of the survey participants found the Common Core State Standards to be more rigorous than their previous standards. With this higher rigor, “nearly all CCSS-adopting states recognize that implementing the Common Core will require substantial changes in curriculum and instruction in their state.” The report also noted that most have developed statewide professional development for teachers and encouraged district collaboration. Unfortunately, the survey revealed challenges persist for some Common Core adopting states, such as developing effective educator evaluation systems. This report stood apart from the others because of its emphasis on state level operations, especially state agencies providing the leadership and support to facilitate Common Core alignment. The CEP notes, “state leaders also need to pay close attention to staffing and operating budgets for their SEA to ensure it has adequate staff and expertise to support CCSS-related activities.” This report asks many of the questions the public and policymakers should be asking of their state officials as Common Core settles in place for the upcoming school year. Ohioans should be encouraged to review the findings of this report as they continue to ask the tough questions that will guarantee that Common Core is set on the right path for higher student achievement and college and career readiness.
Rentner, Diane Stark. Year 3 of Implementing the Common core State Standards: An Overview of States’ Progress and Challenges (Washington, DC: Center on Education Policy, August 2013).