Tag Archives: Common Core Standards

Debating the Common Core

The Washington Post calls attention to the ongoing debate over the Common Core Standards by featuring a letter writing exchange between two school Principals who express their differing views on the standards. The first letter is written by Carol Burris, Principal of South Side High School in New York, who was once a strong supporter of the Common Core but is now a critic of the standards. Burris noted, “I do not think it is a good idea to homogenize standards as untried as the Common Core, across our nation. What we teach our children is far too important to submit to a national experiment. Practicing educators, child development experts and parents should be deeply engaged in the process of standard setting in our states. Standards should be debated, reviewed and refined.” A response will be written by Jayne Ellspermann Principal of West Port High School in Ocala, Florida. See the link provided to read this informative exchange:



Focus on Teaching the Student

As I continue to read the news about states exiting the Common Core standards to reclaim standard-setting autonomy, I am reminded of a quote from a participant from our SSHRC study on literacy teacher educators:

“You’re teaching the student. You’re not teaching the curriculum. The student should be in the middle and to try to stretch the curriculum to fit around that.” (Melissa)

 The Common Core Standards are national U.S. standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics grades K-12. The implementation of these standards began in 2011. However, in the past few months three states have formally withdrawn from the Common Core Standards (Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina). Recently, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana made public that he was also looking to formally withdraw from the Common Core Standards.

This turbulent time in the implementation of national standards reminds me of the stance several of our literacy teacher educators had on teaching directly to national mandates.  Several had lived through many curricula, and so tended to veer away from explicitly teaching the curriculum. Rather, they emphasized with their student teachers that the focus should always be on the student.

Below is a chart summarizing U.S. resisting the implementation of the Common Core: