Adoption was the easy part: Gauging Common Core implementation progress across the country
When the Common Core academic content standards were first introduced, most observers thought at best ten or 12 state would adopt them, and few thought it possible they’d be adopted by all but a handful of states. However, as a Fordham’s Now What? Imperatives and Options for “Common Core” Implementation and Governance pointed out back in 2010, the introduction and adoption of the standards was just the beginning: “Standards describe the destination that schools and students are supposed to reach, but by themselves they have little power to effect change. Much else needs to happen to successfully journey toward that destination.” It is that journey and progress toward the final destination that Education First documents in its new report, Preparing for Change.
As the Common Core efforts move into implementation, this report takes an important look at where states are in the process of ensuring a successful and seamless transition to the new academic standards. States were asked to answer questions about implementation as a part of the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center’s annual state policy survey last summer. The survey questions were specifically designed to track the following areas of implementation: professional development, curriculum guides, and teacher evaluations. The survey reported data from all 50 states, although only 46 states and DC have formally adopted the standards.
How is Ohio doing when it comes to preparing for the full implementation of the Common Core standards by 2014?
According to this analysis, Ohio is on track to ensure that the Common Core is faithfully and properly implemented. The Buckeye State is either in the developmental stages or has already completed its implementation plans for the major focal areas of professional development, curriculum guides, and teacher evaluations. Ohio is only one of 17 states that have a definite implementation plan concerning the re-alignment of resources such as curriculum frameworks, textbooks, and syllabi. The Ohio Department of Education has also crafted a detailed timeline that dictates what district leaders, teachers, and the department itself should be doing over the next few years to ensure that by 2014 implementation of the Common Core is successful.
On the ground, in schools and classrooms, we know that Buckeye State educators don’t feel quite so certain that a seamless transition lies ahead. Taking content standards in ELA and mathematics and actually transferring them to the classrooms is not an easy task. Ohio’s 609 districts, 3,635 schools, and over 100,000 teachers must learn about the new standards and understand how to use them in their classrooms in order for the Common Core to be effective. While Ohio has made significant progress thus far on top-rung implementation work, several major hurdles remain, such as adapting accountability metrics so that they are aligned to the standards; communicating with teachers to gain their trust, buy in, and understanding of the Common Core; aligning college-entrance expectations with the new high school standards; and enlisting the ongoing support of all stakeholders.
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