Over at Politico this week, Kimberly Hefling has a terrific piece on how Common Core has “quietly won the war,” noting a thrust that seems to get lost in all of the heated rhetoric and vitriol about standards. That fact is that four out of every five school-aged kids in the United States, more than 40 million learners all together, are currently being instructed under a Common Core frame.
Granted, there is disagreement on what that means, with most Common Core haters focusing on their ire on those dreaded tests. And while they are connected along a continuum, we cannot forget that standards are not curriculum. They are not instructional materials. They are not professional development for educators. And no, standards themselves are not the tests.
Dear ol’ Eduflack has been trying to make that point since 2008, when it looked like we were jumping right from needed Common Core standards (which I remain a steadfast supporter of) directly to the assessment, without worrying about all that has to happen in the middle to get from a standard to an effective measure of whether the standard has been learned and can be demonstrated.
Over at Common Core Radio this month, we are fortunate to speak with one of those education leaders who understands that point and did just incredible work to make it a reality in his state. Kentucky was one of the earliest adopters of Common Core. And today it stands as one of the best examples of how we can get Common Core implementation right.
In this episode, Cheryl Scott Williams, the executive director of the Learning First Alliance, and I speak with Terry Holliday, the recently retired education commissioner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In this segment, we explore why Common Core is working in Kentucky, and what others can learn from it.
For those looking for the shortcut, the secret is educator involvement. Teachers involved in unpacking the standards to relate it to the actual teaching in the classroom. Teachers involved in identifying needed PD. And teachers actually part of the process to construct a state assessment that works for schools, for teachers, and for the students themselves.
Yes, we can get Common Core right. And we need to get it right. Commissioner Holliday provides some needed common sense and practical experience to help us all see how to get there. Give it a listen.