Adapted from a column by Gene R. Carter, Executive Director, ASCD
The release of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and literacy marked only the beginning of a process that will make a measurable difference in the lives of students. Those states that have already adopted the standards are getting down to the complex business of making sure the standards inform teaching and affect learning in thousands of diverse classrooms. ASCD became an endorsing partner of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) because we believe the standards have the potential to ensure that all of our children will be prepared for success in college and the global workforce. But that potential will only be realized through careful implementation, which is why ASCD intends to help educators translate the standards into effective classroom practice and ensure they complement a whole child approach to education.
Targeted Professional Development Classroom teachers are the most important group in elevating the standards from mere words to tangible improvements in learning. With support from the Gates Foundation, ASCD has created the ASCD EduCore™ website, designed to meet the best practice standards of professional development. It's not enough to simply distribute the new standards to teachers and expect positive, meaningful change to spontaneously happen. We will provide educators with targeted professional development that helps them understand the new standards, plan lessons and deliver instruction that are aligned with them, evaluate learning on an ongoing basis to determine how well students are mastering the standards, and provide additional support to the kids who need it. A Broad Approach for the Future One aspect of the whole child approach is providing a broad, engaging, and challenging curriculum. The Common Core State Standards are designed to include both rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills. So far, the CCSSI has only developed standards for English language arts and math, because they are the subjects most frequently assessed for accountability purposes and they teach skills that are fundamental for mastering other subjects. Ultimately, the CCSSI must pursue standards development in other core subjects to avoid an unintended narrowing of the curriculum and, subsequently, our testing and accountability systems. As new standards are developed, ASCD will keep pace and provide teachers with fresh materials to implement them.
The EduCore® website was created by ASCD with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learn more.