Manual Developing Common Core Thinking Skills

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Standards give parents confidence that the curricula used to teach their children are based on evidence of what they will need to be successful—not just in college but also in their careers and lives. To be an engaged member of our democracy, children need to learn the skills I mentioned earlier: problem solving, analytical thinking, and the use of data in decision making.

Standards also give teachers the ability to teach these useful skills rather than a dumbed-down curriculum driven by fill-in-the-bubble tests. We also hope the Common Core can allow teachers greater—not less—freedom to determine how best to teach while relying on an evidence-based process for determining what to teach.

The Common Core also provides states and district leaders with the opportunity to take advantage of economies of scale in developing better assessments, better instructional materials, and better technology-based tools to improve instruction.

Teaches Beyond Most State & Common Core Standards!

We urge you to move forward with resolve and determination toward effective implementation. Frankly, adoption was easy; implementation is the hard part. But you should march forward and not turn back. Big change is hard. We are asking a lot of our children, our teachers, and our leaders, but our children are worth it. For an example, see the progress in Massachusetts, which aggressively increased its standards in the s.

As a former staffer for Sen. They experienced many obstacles and pushed forward. Teachers are on the frontline of this work. In many places across the country, teachers have expressed support for the Common Core and demonstrated their belief that these standards will benefit students. For instance, polls conducted by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and Scholastic all report similar results: Teachers think positively about the Common Core.

There are many examples of where Common Core implementation has been done well and teachers are welcoming the new standards. The new protocols have invigorated both new and veteran teachers to improve instruction, according to the superintendent. As they work through the protocols, teachers are asking for more time for professional development and collaboration, as they let go of old instructional practices and incorporate new ones to help students learn better. But we are also hearing from around the country—and certainly here in New York—that teachers are concerned about the lack of support they have received and the lack of teacher engagement in the implementation process.

For example, we hear stories of fifth-grade teachers on Long Island who have been handed a new, scripted page curriculum without any training to adapt or apply to their practice.

Decoding the Common Core: A Teacher's Perspective

These concerns have led your teachers association to question moving forward with the new standards. It is important to acknowledge that implementation of the Common Core comes when states and districts are revamping their teacher evaluation systems and when new, more rigorous Common Core-aligned tests are entering the scene. We appreciate the challenges of doing both well but hope that states and districts will remain steadfast in the implementation of improved educator evaluation systems. Teachers and leaders need the feedback that evaluation systems will yield, even during the implementation of the standards.

Evaluation results can help identify opportunities for professional development and inform strategic staffing decisions, such as matching strong teachers with students who need them most.

Deeper Learning: The New Normal | AdvancED

But to get it right, we need to make sure that teachers have the resources and support they need to succeed at their jobs. The Common Core standards are a massive shift in terms of content and teaching strategies. Teachers need to be able to trust the evaluation system and believe that it is fair. A much larger investment in professional development is needed to help teachers prepare and have the resources they need to teach to the Common Core standards. Some states have already made this critical investment.

Tennessee and Kentucky have also made new investments of this kind. States and districts are investing their professional development dollars in different ways. The trainings were optional, but the turnout was enormous. In Delaware, the state department of education has created an initiative called Common Ground for the Common Core, which brings school and district representatives from a variety of districts together to work on how to implement the standards in classrooms.

Based on our review of efforts in other states, we recommend that New York continue these efforts but ensure that the individuals selected for the program are competitively chosen and given additional support at the district level. We would also urge you to look at models of effective local-level engagement with teachers from around the country.

For example, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, in partnership with the Cleveland Teachers Union, created a district-wide, centrally located Common Core Training Center, where teachers are trained in a real classroom and school. The state needs to empower teachers and their representatives in this work. Teacher leaders need to step forward and own implementation of the standards.

In Massachusetts, the state began its work on the Common Core by bringing together teachers and other educators to meld the state standards with the Common Core.

Now, these teachers collaborate to create events and resources to help teachers learn about the standards and have support to teach them. One Saturday event last fall, which was hosted by the state university, the state teachers association, and Teach Plus, drew participants to talk about how to turn standards into instruction.

The grant awardees included:. Teachers also need more time for professional development and collaboration with their peers. Linda Darling-Hammond—one of the members of this panel—writes in her book, The Flat World and Education , that American teachers typically have little to no time to work with colleagues during the school day, and they generally receive only three to five hours weekly to use for independent planning.

For example, the number of weeks and days that U. However, U. For teachers in many European and Asian countries, instruction generally takes up less than half of their working day, while the remaining time—typically about 15 to 20 hours per week—is spent on tasks related to teaching, such as collaboration with colleagues and meeting with students and parents.

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In a study of 30 high-achieving, high-poverty schools with longer school days and years, more than one-third reported scheduling 15 or more professional development and planning days, whereas the local schools in surrounding districts rarely exceeded five or six professional development and planning days.

Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Boston, Massachusetts, has increased learning time for students and incorporated minute highly structured teacher collaboration meetings that allow teachers to plan lessons and share best practices as they implement the new standards. Again, this is an area where New York has already made progress. Focused on its lowest performing schools, the New York State Education Department has required priority schools to expand the learning day by at least 25 percent for all students in a school building.

In January , Gov. Cuomo proposed to expand the school day by creating a competitive grant program for schools that develop approved plans to improve student achievement that includes extending the school day or year by at least 25 percent. The first grantees will be announced early this year. Additional time for teacher collaboration and professional development is an important component that grantees must address. Additional time for students to catch up to more rigorous content is particularly important in low-performing schools.

But especially during this time of transition, additional time for teachers in all schools is also needed as they learn new content and revamp their instructional techniques to teach their students new skills that require inquiry-based learning. We strongly support the extended learning time approach.

About the Common Core State Standards

Parents and communities need to better understand the importance of the high expectations that the Common Core standards has for students. Kentucky developed a detailed plan to implement the standards that involved creating a communications strategy, building educator support, and bringing together a network of partners. The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the first in our latest series of four issue briefs examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues.

This series explores afterschool and: the Common Core State Standards, students with disabilities and other special needs, data utilization to improve programming, and keeping children safe and supported. The briefs examine just a few of the ways afterschool programs support middle school youth, families and communities. These concerns, supplemented by the belief that all states and all students should be held to the same high standards in order to best prepare them for college and careers, resulted in the development of the Common Core State Standards.

Thus far, 45 states have adopted the Common Core, with the majority of those states implementing the standards by this school year As the Common Core State Standards begin entering more classrooms across the country, numerous surveys are highlighting the critical support still necessary to help accomplish the Common Core's goal of ensuring that all students leave high school armed with the knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in college, career and life.

Afterschool programs can be -- and in many places, already are -- an integral source of support for teachers, schools, children and parents. They are helping students develop the critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills that the Common Core emphasizes. Afterschool programs create engaging, fun, thoughtful and relevant learning experiences for children, allowing them to work on hands-on projects, delve deeper into content matter, collaborate with their peers, and develop perseverance and grit by focusing on the learning that takes place throughout projects, rather than solely on the end result.

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  • Working in partnership with schools and teachers, afterschool programs hold infinite potential to ensure all children are ready for college and the workforce, and have the competencies necessary to be successful, productive and engaged citizens. In reading and science, U. An additional significant finding from the PISA results is that there was no significant change in the reading, math and science scores for year-old students in the United States.

    Despite a continued emphasis on education reform and improving the education system in the U. This statement echoes the call from parents and communities for a greater emphasis on critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and communication skills that can be applied across subject matter and throughout a child's school experience and in their future career experience.

    Employers also stand behind students learning these higher-order skills in school to create a well-prepared and competent workforce.

    “Critical Thinking Skills” by David Sotir

    A survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities AACU , conducted by Hart Research Associates in , found that 93 percent of employers surveyed agree, "a candidate's demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.

    Employers also view these skills as becoming increasingly important over the course of time. The findings detailed above -- from PISA test scores to public opinion and employer demands -- illustrate that more needs to be done to prepare U.