For some strange reason it had to be.
He guided me to Tennessee.
When looking for a model of smart Common Core implementation, it’s easy to get depressed. Most state plans are confusing, their guidance buried deep in government websites (usually in hard to read documents full of jargon), their tactics difficult to follow, and their policies disconnected, compliance-oriented, and unlikely to set educators up for success.
I know what you are thinking: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
But there is some hope amidst the noise. And fittingly enough for these voluntary common standards, that hope is in the Volunteer State. Tennessee has been quietly developing what might be the most thoughtful, cohesive, and outcomes-driven state CCSS implementation plan in the nation.
There are three areas, in particular, where Tennessee seems to be outshining the rest of the states: leading with outcomes; clarity of communication and smart prioritization; and growing leaders, as opposed to micromanaging teachers.
Leading with outcomes
Far too often, Common Core implementation efforts are an amalgam of compliance-oriented activities and programs masquerading as thoughtful and effective implementation plans.
Tennessee’s approach seems refreshingly different. The state has set specific goals for each of its first four years of CCSS implementation. In 2012-13, for instance, they expect a 4 point scale score growth for all students on the NAEP 4th grade math, and a 5 point scale score growth for students on the NAEP 8th grade math test. Next year, they...