Common Core Was 'Botched,' Needs 'Course Correction,' National Education Association Head Says

Implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative was "botched" and is in need of a "course correction," Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, argued in a Wednesday article for NEA Today.

Van Roekel spent the last few months speaking to NEA members and listening to focus groups about Common Core implementation, he explained.

"I am sure it won't come as a surprise to hear that in far too many states, implementation has been completely botched," he wrote.

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About 70 percent of teachers reported that the implementation is going poorly, Van Roekel reported, and administrators are not even seeking the guidance of teachers in how to implement the standards. Two-thirds of teachers reported that they have not been asked by administrators how the implementation is going.

"Imagine that: The very people expected to deliver universal access to high quality standards with high quality instruction have not had the opportunity to share their expertise and advice about how to make CCSS implementation work for all students, educators, and parents," he wrote.

"Consequently, NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset, and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly."

Van Roekel does not call for abandoning the Common Core altogether. Rather, he calls on the 45 states that have adopted the standards "to make a strong course correction and move forward."

He advises those in charge of implementing the Common Core to "treat teachers as professionals and listen to what we know is needed" and to "work with educators – not around us – to determine how to properly use assessments ...."

In some states, Van Roekel explained, teachers are being required to teach based upon a new set of standards, but their students are being tested on the old standards, and then the teachers are being held accountable for how students perform on those tests.

"This is not 'accountability' – it's malpractice," Van Roekel implored.

The NEA is the nation's largest teachers union.

In January, the Board of Directors of New York State United Teachers passed a resolution withdrawing support for the Common Core. That resolution will be voted on by the union's members in April.

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