Wednesday, December 19, 2012

California Lagging Far Behind Other States in Implementing the Common Core State Standards

A new Education Trust—West (ETW) report, Catching up to the Core: Common Sense Strategies for Accelerating Access to the Common Core in California, finds that California has fallen far behind other states and even local school districts in implementing the new English Language Arts and Math CCSS. This lack of progress will leave millions of California students trailing their peers in other states, two years before new assessments aligned with the Common Core are expected to come online.

“Districts know that students will benefit from the Common Core State Standards, but many are struggling with implementation,” said Rick Miller, Executive Director of the California Office to Reform Education (CORE). “State leaders must provide the critical supports that districts need to ensure that they successfully make the transition to the Common Core.”

While a number of pioneering California districts have sought to fill this vacuum with local efforts, many more are waiting for state leadership. The state’s failure to support districts in providing all students with access to high-quality, standards-based instruction will leave low-income, Latino, African-American, and English learner students even more unprepared for college and the workplace.

“California should provide every student with access to these powerful new education standards,” said Janet MurguĂ­a, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “It’s not good enough for the benefits of the Common Core to reach students in just a few forward-thinking districts. State leaders must support the rural and low-income schools that serve so many of our English learners.”

The report profiles best practices for implementing the CCSS in other states and school districts, including some in California. It highlights promising work in teacher professional development, instructional materials, technology, and alignment with systems of higher education, particularly in teacher preparation.

“Without high-quality professional development, educators will not be properly supported to teach the Common Core,” said John Lee, Executive Director of Teach Plus Los Angeles. “It is imperative that teachers are meaningfully involved in Common Core implementation to ensure that our students have access to rigorous standards-based instruction.”

The report concludes with common sense recommendations for California policymakers. These include improving public understanding of the Common Core, expanding educator professional development, aligning instructional materials, and addressing technology infrastructure and capacity.

"Uniform and equitable implementation of Common Core is essential to California's future. If we fail to ensure that every student in every California district enjoys the benefits of successful implementation, we will have lost a singular opportunity to improve our state's future competitiveness in the global economy,” said Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund). “This report includes important recommendations to assist California in satisfying the imperative of successful and comprehensive implementation of Common Core," he concluded.

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