The Daily Dish: Improving and Achieving with the Common Core State Standards
June 16, 2015 04:29 pm
The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are rooted in the concept of engaging every student in the same rigorous curriculum in order for those students to graduate from high school, prepared for college and career.
As Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, states in an op-ed for CNN, “Where a family lives, how much money it makes or its race or ethnicity should not dictate the quality of education a child receives or that child’s ability to thrive in college and in future careers.”
Richardson speaks specifically to how the CCSS can help Latino students be better prepared for life after graduation. Pointing to the growing number of Latino students in U.S. public schools and the fact that those students still graduate at a lesser rate than their white peers, Richardson says the “consistent standards and assessments for students throughout the country” give a greater degree of hope to this student population. He praises increased graduation rates for Latino students seen in Kentucky – the first state to adopt the CCSS – up from 58.5 percent to 80 percent since they were implemented in 2009. Richardson says states like Kentucky show what is possible for unserved and struggling students with the more rigorous standards.
Another state that is moving towards improvement under the CCSS is Mississippi. The Hechinger Report’s Jackie Mader concludes a three-part series focusing on a year of education reform at Quitman County Elementary School in rural Mississippi. Mader writes, “Catching kids up and pushing them to these harder lessons hasn’t necessarily been easy…where at least 50 percent of third graders have scored below proficient on the state reading exam in recent years.” Mader explains that students in this same school now express an understanding of concepts in a more meaningful way, but the learning curve with the Common Core does persist.
In a recent blog, Alliance Senior Fellow Robert Rothman notes that the CCSS are only five years old and have a long way to go for states and schools. But Rothman adds – and Richardson echoes – that it is important to note the efforts among teachers who have been “working diligently, mostly under the radar, to transform their instruction and make the standards real.”
One such teacher is Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year. In a new post for the Alliance’s High Soup Blog, McComb, who teaches English at Patapsco High School in Baltimore, Maryland, asserts that helping students – especially those from historically underrepresented communities, succeed with higher standards requires a focus on time and trust with teachers. He goes on to say that in order to ensure students graduate high school for college, career, and citizenship requires professional learning that includes an effective use of time and “trusted peers to problem-solve and adjust their instruction to be responsive to student needs.”
McComb writes, “We can help struggling students to meet higher standards if we recognize that they each have unique needs and that effectively meeting those needs require communities where teachers have the time and trusted support to craft responsive, effective instruction.”