November 4, 2013

Recap: Common Core at the Crossroads

Growing public distrust, cagey lawmakers and big money from all directions—it’s not just the standards and assessments that are common in the roll out of the Common Core State Standards.

Despite the pushback, the standards are fast becoming a reality across the country. What does that mean for education and the journalists who cover it? Are the standards making a dramatic difference in the way teachers work? How well have school districts planned their curricula around Common Core?

And of course there are the tests that will give the standards a common metric to measure student achievement across state lines—how are they panning out?

An education initiative this sweeping deserves the scrutiny it’s receiving, and EWA is offering a wide array of resources for reporters on covering the Common Core rollout. Our intensive, one-day training for journalists in the nation’s capital explored the many facets of the standards and assessments.

Read up on some of the stories written by journalists who attended the November seminar:

Big Business Speaks Out for the Common Core (T.H.E. Journal)

New education standards known as the Common Core start forcing changes in Ohio’s schools and in other states (Plain Dealer)

Inside the Common Core English classroom: Showing the evidence (Plain Dealer)

Inside the Common Core math classroom: Real-world context, deeper understanding and mastery (Plain Dealer)

N.J. statewide school test results stay the same as questions get harder (The Record)

Common Core Implementation ‘Far Worse’ Than Obamacare Rollout (Capital New York)

As the State Hedges, a Testing Consortium Says It Can ‘Meet New York’s Needs’ (Capital New York)

The Arts and Common Core—a Natural Fit (WYPR)

Stanislaus schools weigh in as high school math curriculum gets makeover under Common Core (Modesto Bee)

On Campus: Getting hands-on experience with Common Core lessons (Modesto Bee)

Common Core may change path to math (Ventura County Star)

Common Core watch in private schools (Herald-Tribune)


Looking for more? We assembled a backgrounder on key coverage and analysis help reporters get up to speed on the issues we covered at the seminar, all of which are certainly evergreen.

Happy diving!

Ten Big Takeaways from CEP’s Research on State Implementation of the Common Core by Diane Stark Rentner, Deputy Director, Center on Education Policy, The George Washington University

Those takeaways come from a series of reports CEP has issued on the third year of rolling out the standards:


Common Core seminar speaker Michael McShane of American Enterprise Institute penned a 10-part series titled, “Dispatches from a nervous Common Core observer.” Get a skeptic’s take below.


In recent weeks, the Education Writers Association has had a hand in rolling out news stories and resources that get to the heart of how much Common Core standards and assessments will cost, who’s funding them, how classroom instruction will change and whether teachers are prepared for these new expectations:


Check out Education Week’s four-part series on implementing the standards in Washington, D.C.


Sometimes reporting is as easy as a game of hopscotch. The Achievement Network (ANet) has put together a guide on district implementation of the assessments. It comes with a series of direct questions reporters can ask their district leaders on what they’re doing to ensure the adoption of the assessments is smooth.


Follow a Florida reporter’s journey through the thicket of contracts, delays and push back that have characterized the state’s adoption of the Common Core assessments. And here’s his similar journey to understand the standards, replete with timelines, fact-checks, dispatches from board meetings and how teachers are getting along.


The two state superintendents who have been at the forefront on advocating for Common Core have been Kentucky’s Terry Holliday and Maryland’s Lillian Lowery.