Teachers who received extra training and support in implementing the Common Core State Standards have had a “positive” experience introducing them into their classrooms, according to a national survey of teachers.

But many teachers said they didn’t get enough professional preparation. Of the 1,676 teachers who responded to the July 2014 survey, funded by Scholastic Inc. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the vast majority said they needed more training.

Teachers said they wanted more professional development in the actual content of the standards, how to integrate the standards “across subject areas” and what they need to change in their method of instruction to teach to the standards. California, 42 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted the new academic standards in  English Language Arts and Math.

“The finding that jumped out at me and gave me pause was that 84 percent of teachers said they needed quality professional development,” said Ellen Moir, chief executive officer of the New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit in Santa Cruz that provides training and mentorship to new teachers.

Nearly all teachers also said they needed resources, including instructional materials aligned with Common Core (88 percent) and more planning time to find materials and prepare lessons, and to collaborate with other teachers (78 percent).

Yet more teachers (79 percent) said they felt either “very prepared” or “somewhat prepared” to teach to the standards, compared to 71 percent in a companion survey a year earlier.

Large numbers of teachers surveyed also said they did not believe that policymakers were hearing their concerns. Only 30 percent of the teachers said they felt their opinions about Common Core were heard by administrators in districts, and only 5 percent felt that policymakers in their state were responsive to them, according to the report.

The survey also found that teachers were most concerned about whether there were enough tools and resources to help students who are two or more grade levels behind meet the standards.

For Martha Castellón, executive director of the Stanford Graduate School of Education’s Understanding Language program, which focuses on helping English language learners, such concerns ring true in California. Teachers are now expected to teach their classes aligned with the Common Core, while helping English learners master the higher standards.

“The state and districts are going to have to provide teachers with this training,” Castellón said. “The curriculum addresses the content,” she said. But it doesn’t help teachers break it down, she added, “for students who have various levels of English proficiency.”

Among other findings, the survey found that elementary schools were further along in the Common Core rollout than secondary schools. It also found that teachers were worried that the results of testing could play a role in teacher evaluations. Fifty-nine percent said that among hurdles that have made implementing the Common Core difficult was “having student results on new tests be a factor in teacher evaluations.”

Teachers cited other barriers to putting the Common Core into practice, including uncertainty about what assessments states will select to administer to students, and questions about whether the Common Core standards in math are aligned appropriately to each grade level.

Ryan Jones, a high school teacher at Watsonville High School, credits teacher training with preparing him to teach his students about the French Revolution in a manner aligned with the Common Core.

Instead of teaching students to memorize the causes of the French Revolution, says Jones, “you’re going to see students developing arguments about its causes.” Those arguments, he continued, must be based on evidence from primary sources.

His school provides regular training on Common Core, where a mentor reviews lesson plans and coaches teachers, Jones said. “She’ll ask things like, ‘Does this assignment focus more on facts or about how to think?'”

If California teachers are going to get training and support in how to implement the Common Core, their schools have to provide it, Jones said.

This is the third year of the survey of U.S. teachers, which was sent by email to the same 16,000 public school teachers – in Common Core states and in all grades – who responded to last year’s survey. Teachers from more than 40 states, including California and the District of Columbia, responded to the survey.

The sample size was standard for a such a survey, according to Kristen Harmeling, a partner in YouGov, the firm that designed it.

The Gates Foundation provides funding to EdSource but has no control over its editorial content.

 

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  1. Don 3 years ago3 years ago

    Why did the NEA and NFT sell out the teaching profession to Bill Gates, Pearson and the Common Core State Standards Initiative? Why are staunch union supporters like Gary Rivani, who for good reason never has had anything positive to say about Gates, willing to overlook the mountain of problems inherent in CC, not the least of which is its abject failure to align with widely accepted principles of childhood cognitive development, and go hand … Read More

    Why did the NEA and NFT sell out the teaching profession to Bill Gates, Pearson and the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

    Why are staunch union supporters like Gary Rivani, who for good reason never has had anything positive to say about Gates, willing to overlook the mountain of problems inherent in CC, not the least of which is its abject failure to align with widely accepted principles of childhood cognitive development, and go hand in hand with him to experiment on the minds of America’s school children with an entirely untested and unproven standard?

    One theory is that CC is a tactic of reformers that will further erode the achievement gap, as it doesn’t tackle the fundamental equity issues, and create pressure towards privatization. If that is true, Mr. Rivani and other unionist CC supporters like him may be unwitting accomplices in helping Mr. Gates to pull the rug out from underneath their own unions and the children of American public education.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 3 years ago3 years ago

      Don, you never answered my question as to whether you would be willing to be a part of re-building common core to something new and better. Considering the tremendous cost to starting over, tremendous time waste, you are saying these 4 "flimflam" issues and the problems with implementation are so severe that we should scratch all the progress we've made and start over and fix all the issues and come up with something new. … Read More

      Don, you never answered my question as to whether you would be willing to be a part of re-building common core to something new and better. Considering the tremendous cost to starting over, tremendous time waste, you are saying these 4 “flimflam” issues and the problems with implementation are so severe that we should scratch all the progress we’ve made and start over and fix all the issues and come up with something new. Remember, this has to satisfy 50 states across party lines and unify a huge nation under one set of tests and standards.

      I think that we have to ensure, if we do this big undertaking, the critics demanding a reset agree to be a part of the solution even if they are outvoted. If we re-do everything and then everyone is demanding the new system be scrapped, we just lose years and it’s pointless.

      Are you saying Pearson and Bill Gates shouldn’t be able to be involved in the fix?

      Are you willing to be part of the solution? Because if we do it and you are still hammering it, what an incredible waste of time. If they do what you want and draw it up again from scratch with all the info you complain about, would you just be waiting in the wings and then slam them if there are any mistakes with the new system?

      This is my main concern. If we do a redux, it will be hard, costly, and put us years behind. We have to make sure the new system is better, more effective, and something we unify behind as a nation whether Democrat or Republican or Libertarian, Blue State or Red State, etc. You’re asking a lot of Obama. You’re asking him to push the reform into another Presidency. We better all know we’re going to work together on this if he agrees to this unprecedented deconstruction and rebuilding you are requesting. There is a significant negative to stating over, so it has to be counter-balanced by a better system with more unity and backing and results, if we do this. It’s not worth doing if we just complain anyways later.

      • Don 3 years ago3 years ago

        No, because as I have said over and over, I don’t want national standards of any ilk.

        • FloydThursby1941 3 years ago3 years ago

          So you think it's better if each state has a separate set of standards and then we somehow compare them later? It'd be like each state having it's own money. Imagine if Europe went back to that. It makes it very difficult to do comparisons. I think we're a stronger nation of people in the North read literature from the South and people from the South read literature from the North. … Read More

          So you think it’s better if each state has a separate set of standards and then we somehow compare them later? It’d be like each state having it’s own money. Imagine if Europe went back to that. It makes it very difficult to do comparisons. I think we’re a stronger nation of people in the North read literature from the South and people from the South read literature from the North. We are a great nation because we are together and this is why Lincoln is so admired.

          Anyways, you’re just looking for implementation issues to complain about to try to score political points and pressure them to drop the whole thing. You’re not honestly outraged each time, you’re looking for little things to get mad about the way Fox News does. You are intentionally getting all bent out of shape at something which has to be expected. I get it, you’re against it, but you lost the election, that happens. There will be some mistakes in an undertaking this large, and many are manufactured because many teachers and state officials are intentionally dragging their feet, asking for delays and exemptions, saying they’re not ready after not making a solid effort to get ready intentionally, etc. To me this is a sign of a good President to persevere in the face of resistance.

          You would like for him to give up on common core and Obama Care because there are problems manufactured by opponents? That’s a huge concession. You’re basically telling opponents, be jerks, resist, don’t work hard, try to mess things up, and we’ll reward you by canceling programs you disagree with.

          If you’re going to give up that easily you may as well just have had McCain be President the last 8 years. It makes no sense to have a Democrat with grand ideas if we can’t help him implement them and pressure him to give up every time a local official intentionally undermines him. Sometimes you have to live with some imperfections. If Obama had one what you urge, I’d have no respect for him. It would be ridiculous at this point to drop Common Core and ObamaCare, he’d go down as one of the worst presidents in history maybe even nearly as bad as W. What ludicrous and self-serving advice.