With his June 18 announcement that states will be allowed additional time before using outcomes of new assessments based on Common Core State Standards to evaluate teachers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is recognizing that the Common Core is too important to focus first on high stakes before getting the standards implemented properly, AFT president Randi Weingarten says.
"If we believe the Common Core State Standards are essential to teaching students critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and persist to get there—and we do—then we actually need to prepare the people who will be helping students master these skills," she says.
"The secretary created an opening for states, and we're heartened that he listened to the tens of thousands of teachers, parents and others who told him that they believe in the new standards but are concerned about teachers' having the time to prepare and the supports to teach to the standards. The challenge now will be for states' education chiefs to also listen, to show leadership, and to work with their school community to support this shift. Teachers need the resources, aligned curriculum, time and professional development to support great instruction to help all kids succeed.
"The ball is now in the states' court to take advantage of this opportunity, to work actively with teachers in the trenches, and to engage parents to make sure this rollout is successful—district by district, school by school.
"In April, the AFT called for a moratorium on the high-stakes consequences of the assessments to give districts time to properly implement the standards. These new standards for math and English language arts can revolutionize teaching and learning, but we need to put the brakes on the stakes to give states and districts the time to implement plans that will get Common Core right." [AFT press release]
June 18, 2013