Michael Vaughn

Real, Clear Classroom Perspectives on Common Core

A recent Scholastic poll shows that the more teachers know about and work with the Common Core State Standards, the more they believe in the standards and their power to deepen learning. Real Clear Education features two perspectives from teachers that reinforce the polling data. Robbie Tierney is a kindergarten teacher in East Oakland, Calif., and he writes about the Common Core’s rigor and flexibility in the classroom:
When people say, “That’s too hard” or “That’s not developmentally appropriate,” they are perpetuating a status quo where some kindergarteners—the students who actually can count to 100—have a skill that they need to be ready for college and other kindergarteners do not because it’s “too hard” or “not appropriate."
And later:
The Common Core doesn’t mandate any worksheets, assignments, curriculum, or materials, and I write and adapt curriculum from a variety of sources to create coherent lesson sequences that build this bridge for my students, who discover joy in our number system in my classroom every year.
Lauren Trahan, a high school teacher in Iberia, La., adds:
The standards are guidelines for learning, it is not a curriculum. Teachers have the freedom to choose their own curriculum and design their own lessons. Yes, states have offered unit plans, curriculum, and example reading material for the teachers and districts who want these resources, but we still have the sovereignty to select novels and documents that we believe are best for our grade levels and individual classes.
When you cut through the Core rhetoric and look inside the classroom, you see high expectations for kids, instructional freedom for teachers, and joy in learning.
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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