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Recognizing Progress in Implementing the Common Core State Standards

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By Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)

The Common Core State Standards represent remarkable consensus among state leaders and the professional education community. Stakeholders from K-12 schools and districts, state education departments, institutions of higher education and other entities have come together as individuals and teams, at the state level and national level, to ensure a comprehensive approach to positively impacting student learning. K-12 teachers, school officials and students are absolutely essential to successful implementation of the Common Core standards. Institutions of higher education — particularly the schools and colleges of education within them that prepare the K-12 educators who will later teach to the standards — are just as critical.

At the national level, efforts such as the "Implementing the Common Core Standards" collaborative, led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association, are working with state teams to facilitate discussions and share resources and strategies to address challenges and opportunities around implementing the standards. CCSSO is also working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the State Higher Education Executive Officers and select state leadership teams in the College Readiness Partnership (CRP). The CRP serves to bring higher education and K-12 school leaders together to determine how the Common Core standards would be best implemented in each participating state in order to improve college and career readiness for all students.

In the states, groups of educator preparation leaders such as the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NJACTE) are actively engaged in this work. This spring, NJACTE and professional organizations in the state sponsored a symposium that presented the changes and implications around the Common Core standards that will lead to teacher candidates who are better prepared to enter the profession. The Kentucky Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (KACTE) is a well-recognized leader for Common Core work, having been the first state to adopt the standards.

And, at the local level, individual institutions are working within their programs and through collaborative partnerships to ensure their teacher candidates are prepared to use the Common Core standards. Northern Illinois University has been awarded an annual grant by the state department of education to collaborate with sixth- and seventh-grade teachers in the U-46 School District and help familiarize them with the Common Core standards for math. Through a partnership with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb University is creating resources for university faculty to use when preparing new teachers to employ the standards.

K-12 schools and districts, higher education-based educator preparation programs and state departments of education continue to do impressive work to achieve a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. These standards are a great opportunity for our nation's students. Our commitment must hold strong to provide the educational services required to bring all students to the level of achievement that will support them in college and their careers.

Views expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the endorsement of the Learning First Alliance or any of its members.

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