For the first time in our nation’s history, we are developing a common set of standards with which to measure and ensure our children have the skills necessary for success in life – both in college and beyond. There has been much debate about the need for a common approach to education reform. Those on both sides have raised very valid concerns. The reality now, however, is that Common Core is coming and the primary role of our Board now is to lead in advocating and educating the public on the dramatic and systemic changes that are coming.
Where Common Core differs from past reforms is in its focus on the depth of knowledge necessary to understand key principles that will guide future learning. This shift – from “breadth” to “depth” and adding global benchmarking to ensure our students measure and compete against the best from around the world – lies at the core of the new standards.
As a teacher at the University of Southern California I have seen the challenges our students face as they enter into a globally competitive higher education system that many are not ready for. Closing this gap is at the core of these new standards. Now our teachers must literally rewrite how and what they teach. And, our students will be tested and measured against new global benchmarks – testing that will likely “appear” to show declines during initial implementation. What we have learned from other states that have implemented Common Core is our Board must provide the leadership to ensure the breathing room necessary for success throughout the process. Everyone in our community – from the real estate agents who leverage our district to improve home values to our parents who expect the very best from our schools – must be made ready for these changes.
The Board also must ensure our teachers have the resources necessary to implement the new teaching regiment. Supporting localized collaborative efforts by school, department and grade is a key element of Common Core and must be supported from a budget standpoint as well as championed by the Board from a policy and technology perspective. My plan calls for a new innovation fund that fosters creative approaches to teaching that rise up from individual school and department programs. Through targeted innovation grants our diverse school communities will be encouraged to serve as incubators of new ways of teaching and our community will benefit from being able to take the best and most forward looking ideas district-wide.
You can click on the attached video to learn more about Common Core and the education evolution it will bring to our district. Thank you for reading and thank you for your feedback!