Common Core: Too Much, Too Fast?

Jun 3, 2013

School districts across Connecticut are wrestling with how to implement  the new Common Core state standards, which mean changes to the way teachers teach reading and math along with new computer-based tests. 

The transition is expected to take place over the next year and a half. But some districts say that time frame may be hard to meet.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for language arts and math. The goal is to ensure that  students have the skills they need for success in college and careers. 

Chief Academic Officer Diana Roberge- Wentzell is in charge of helping Connecticut school districts implement the new standards. She was a guest on WNPR’s Where We Live.

"These standards are internationally benchmarked. So we can look to many other countries where this has worked really well for their students. It puts our CT students in a place to be competitive not only with students applying to college and career from other states, but globally."

Some of the changes include more non-fiction reading and fewer math topics taught more in-depth.

David Title is the superintendent of Fairfield’s Public Schools. He says school systems must make three difficult changes, simultaneously.

"Number one, you have to do the curriculum development--because the standards are not a curriculum.  The second big thing is the professional development that has to go with that.  And also there’s a huge shift coming in assessment, computer-based, a whole different animal, much more rigorous. So this is part of three enormous shifts in our school system and across the state that we’re being asked to do from our perspective with very few resources."

He expects state funding to largely support Connecticut’s 30 lowest performing districts…leaving more than 130 others to find ways to pay for the big transition to Common Core.