With less-than-inspiring findings, Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently published stats assessing the early stages of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation. Regarding reading instruction specifically, the institute found that elementary teachers, despite their high regard for the standards, were inclined to continue giving assignments aimed at meeting students where they are, rather than elevating them to grade level as the CCSS envisions.
And with 30% of students reaching less than proficient levels in reading, those stats don't paint a very promising picture for improvement.
In what can best be described as a "stark contrast," Ed Week recently published two separate articles: one on teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) students and the other on those teaching special education students. Those reports presented a considerably more optimistic picture--highlighting teachers focused on their resolve to unpack the standards and redefine their own roles accordingly. . . A "whatever it takes" kind of attitude!
And there's the rub: how many articles have been in the press with teachers gushing over the CCSS potential? And now the hard work of actually doing it reveals that it's really, really hard to change any habits, instructional ones included. Not that we are unsympathetic with teachers-- not at all (who among us hasn't broken a New Year's resolution or two...or three!). Important and valuable as the CCSS are, really teaching to them is something that will make our admiration of good teachers even greater. . .and the support needed to maintain those habits for teachers all the more key.