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ASCD Plans Professional Development for Common Standards

We've heard it often: standards don't accomplish much without good curriculum, assessments, and professional development. And we've heard the same mantra from advocates of the common state standards initiative.

Not surprisingly, people are stepping up to provide those things (it's especially unsurprising given the amounts of money potentially involved in doing so. But I digress...). We already know that the folks at Core Knowledge Foundation are aligning their core curriculum sequence to the common standards, and that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given at least $18.5 million in grants to develop various kinds of curriculum materials that will support those standards.

And we know that the publishing industry is positioning itself to produce scads of materials that will market themselves as aligned to the common standards as well. How closely any of these materials will truly reflect the common standards is an open question, and what to do about that potential problem is something under discussion in many private rooms in Washington.

We also know that the assessment world is abuzz over development of "next generation" assessments for the common standards, especially in light of the Race to the Top assessment competition, which is dangling $350 million over groups of states who join forces to develop such testing systems.

What I haven't heard much about—until today—is plans to provide professional development for the common standards. (If you know more than I do, please share!) The ASCD, widely known for doing just that, has signed on to become an "endorsing partner" of the common standards initiative. As such a partner, it intends to design professional development to help teachers implement the common core. David Griffith, the ASCD's director of public policy, told me today that discussions are just beginning on how to do this.

"P.D. is our bailiwick," Griffith says. "With the number of states ready to jump on board [with the common standards], there is going to be a lot of discussion about this, and a lot of people needing resources and help. We want to be a part of that."

Stay tuned.

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