A big bet on Common Core implementation

Since
states began to adopt the Common Core ELA and math standards en masse, the big
question was how well those standards would really be implemented. As I’ve mentioned
before
, there isn’t yet a clear consensus about what Common Core
implementation should mean for instruction. Nor are states necessarily targeting
their implementation efforts on the highest-impact activities
.

Enter
the GE Foundation. In the hopes of providing a big boost to the Common Core
implementation efforts, the foundation announced a 4-year, $18 million grant to
Student Achievement Partners—the group co-founded by CCSS architects David
Coleman, Jason Zimba, and Sue Pimentel. According to GE, the grant will support
several implementation efforts, including:

  • Direct collaboration with teachers
    to produce and share examples and best practices of excellent instruction
    aligned with the Standards;
  • A website, www.achievethecore.org, to distribute
    free resources designed to support teacher understanding and implementation;
  • Standards Immersion Institutes
    designed to cultivate teacher experts who can build knowledge in their
    districts and states;
  • The development of tools to track
    implementation and evaluate the quality of student work; and
  • Partnerships with a network of
    non-profits to provide ongoing technical support to district and state leaders
    guiding implementation.

Of
course, the pressure is now on to deliver on these lofty goals. There will
certainly be other investments in nonprofit groups looking to provide school-
and district-level implementation support, but this will undoubtedly be the
largest.

In
a strong initial move, Student Achievement Partners will hold no intellectual
property rights over the materials they create or share—they will be open
source and they will be provided at no cost. In addition, the group will “have
no financial interests with any publisher of education materials.” In a field
quickly being overrun by textbook publishers looking to make a quick buck on
“Common Core” support, this is a welcome approach to take.

In
the end, there is no one right way to implement the standards. But hopefully
giving the voices of the CCSS authors a big microphone will help guide and
shape state, district, and classroom-level implementation discussions in the
right direction.

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