And English teachers at South Middle School in Grand Forks, North Dakota, are aligning lessons with Common Core by incorporating a discussion model that leads to a deeper understanding of texts. For example, they ask students to think critically about the values of a narrator, asking questions such as: “What evidence is there in this excerpt that [the narrator] doesn’t care about what she did?”
All of these efforts represent precisely what we hoped Common Core would encourage when we worked with our colleagues at the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to create the program. They are the reason that unlikely coalitions of Democrats and Republicans, as well as business leaders and union presidents, are urging states to resist political pressures and stay focused on implementing the standards.
According to Gallup’s World Poll, there are 3 billion people looking for work and only 1.2 billion potential jobs available. The jobs will go where the skilled workforce is, and we are in danger of falling behind if we don’t raise the bar for our students. The most recent Program for International Student Assessment shows that even once-struggling nations, such as Estonia, Poland and Vietnam, are surpassing the U.S. This has serious consequences for individual economic opportunity and national economic growth.
In the coming months, elected officials and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council will team up to publicize the facts about Common Core and challenge misinformation about what the standards mean.
We will help fill the leadership vacuum that has existed among even Common Core’s strongest proponents by providing states with materials to inform the public and assistance in applying best practices. We will share models of how states can successfully teach the standards — such as ways to bring together the best teachers across districts to share strategies, curriculum and lesson plans.