Teacher Voice

Georgia Teacher Calls Common Core ‘Freeing’

A teacher in Georgia debunks in a blog for Educators For High Standards the many myths that surround the Common Core, including the persistent canard that high standards dictates classroom instruction. Far from it, writes special-education teacher Jemelleh Coes, who was named 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year. She picks apart these oft-used arguments against the Common Core:
The standards were written by educators and, despite what opponents would have people believe, were not forced onto states by the federal government. Each state voluntarily adopted the standards, and afterwards, school leaders and teachers worked hard to develop the professional training necessary for educators to implement the standards in the classroom.
Jemelleh says Common Core enables her and her peers greater agency to craft their curriculums as they see fit:
As a new way of teaching, the Common Core has certainly challenged teachers—both young and veteran—to rethink how we approach the materials students need to master. To be clear, Common Core does not mandate we teach a certain way. In fact, I and my colleagues were surprised to find that we had more freedom to construct lessons under the Core.
Not only does she feel liberated in her teaching through Common Core, her highly mobile population of students feel the difference as well:
I saw first-hand how the disruptions caused by near-constant moving affected my students at Langston Chapel (and) created chaos in their academic progress. The Common Core calms that chaos by establishing clear guidelines regarding what students are not only to learn but master at each grade level. I know what it’s like to watch a student come into a classroom and realize that they are so far behind their peers that catching up seems impossible. It can be heartbreaking. Education should never be disappointing or filled with anxiety for children. It should free their minds to soar to the highest heights. It should challenge them to work harder and work smarter, which is exactly what Common Core does.
Caroline Bermudez
Caroline Bermudez is chief storyteller at the Charter School Growth Fund and former senior writer at Education Post. Bermudez has been a journalist for almost 10 years. She was staff editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, covering the nonprofit world, with a particular focus on foundations and high net-worth giving. She has interviewed prominent business, political and philanthropic leaders ...

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