Last March, the New Hampshire Legislature came down firmly in support of the higher Common Core standards and the accompanying Smarter Balanced assessment, but the political debate is alive and well in some other states. Here’s a typical snapshot from North Carolina where, as in New Hampshire, educators don’t see what all the fuss is about:
But the district has also had a smooth implementation of the Common Core State Standards, too, according to many educators there.
“It’s really not that new, and I don’t understand what the fuss is about, honest to goodness,” said David Ivey, principal of North Iredell Middle School, one of many administrators in Iredell-Statesville to come from a career in teaching.
If that experience has been shared in the rest of North Carolina, you might not know it. On Wednesday, Gov. Patrick McCrory announced he would be signing a bill to trigger a “review” of the common-core standards to see if the state should be reconsidering its adoption.
That’s a less aggressive approach than that taken by Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, which have all dropped the common-core standards.
In Iredell-Statesville, the view ranges from indifferent to enthusiastic, but with little negativity.
“I think we’ve had the support that we need for it,” said Leigh Brown, a language arts teacher at East Middle School. “That doesn’t mean it’s always been easy.”
Kaitlyn Alford, a language arts teacher at North Iredell Middle, admitted being intimidated by the English/language arts standards, before finding opportunity in them.
“When you first look at that, it’s very frustrating, but then it’s very liberating,” she said. “It allows me to open up a lot more lessons I can do so that I’m not boxed in.”…
The common standards have made a believer out of North Iredell Middle instructional facilitator Barbara Hill, who got herself choked up talking about the changes she’s seen since she started teaching 28 years ago. She says that, unlike some of her colleagues, she understands the hype and the instructional changes the standards require.
“I taught math, and I taught students how to solve problems, but I didn’t teach them how to be a problem solver,” Hill said. “Am I gonna teach my students just the Pythagorean theorem, or am I gonna tell them, when they need to build a handicapped ramp at home, and they have an aging parent, how they’re going to figure out the slope of that handicapped ramp? That’s what the common core is all about.”