Michael Vaughn

The More You Get into the Core, the More There Is to Like

The Common Core didn’t make a great first impression, to say the least, when it first took to the national stage. The standards have been a punching bag for politicians and a punch line for stand-up comics. There’s even a “ Thanks, Common Core” Twitter handle that mockingly plays off of the backlash by blaming everything from “I didn't buy stock in a pumpkin spice company 5 yrs ago” to   “My e-harmony date was nothing like the online profile” on the new standards. But now that we’re deeper into implementation, we’re getting into the substance. More educators are actually getting to the core of the Core. More student-achievement results from Common Core early-adopters are coming in. And there seems to be a pretty clear theme developing: The more you get to know the Common Core, the more there is to like. Stephen Sawchuk points out in EdWeek that a new Gallup poll shows: “The more implementation experience teachers had with the standards, the better they appeared to like them.” That follows on a recent Scholastic poll which found: “Teachers are optimistic that the Common Core will lead to greater levels of student achievement and many are already seeing positive changes.” And this story by Libby Nelson in Vox shows that there’s good reason for teachers to be optimistic. It looks at Kentucky—one of the earliest adopters of Common Core—and the significant increases in student achievement that they’re seeing in the Bluegrass State now that the standards have taken root.
Four years after Kentucky adopted the new Common Core benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do in reading and math, about 62 percent of students are considered ready for college or a career when they graduate — up from 38 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, the state has sidestepped some of the political controversy that's become a hallmark of Common Core elsewhere.
The story then goes on to detail some of the reasons behind the Common Core successes, which include strong training for teachers from the get-go and an outreach plan that “talked a lot about the Common Core, even when the news wasn’t good.” There’s sure lots more talk about the Common Core coming. And the more the conversation focuses on the depth of the standards instead of the heat around them, the better position we’ll be in to understand how they connect with teachers and kids.  
Michael Vaughn
Michael Vaughn was the founding Communications Director of Education Post. Prior to that, Mike worked for 18 years in the communications offices of two urban school districts. He served in a variety of communications roles for the Chicago Public Schools starting in 1996, shortly after Mayor Richard M. Daley took control of CPS, and eventually served as the district's Communications Director until ...

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