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.