February 22nd, 2013

Other Questions for Teachers and Principals

Valerie Strauss:

Nine in 10 principals (93%) and teachers (92%) say they are knowledgeable about the Common Core.

Nine in 10 principals (90%) and teachers (93%) believe that teachers in their schools already have the academic skills and abilities to implement the Common Core in their classrooms.

Teachers and principals are more likely to be very confident that teachers have the ability to implement the Common Core (53% of teachers; 38% of principals) than they are very confident that the Common Core will improve the achievement of students (17% of teachers; 22% of principals) or better prepare students for college and the workforce (20% of teachers; 24% of principals).

Statistics from the most recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, and just another piece of research backing up what I (and many others) have been seeing and hearing anecdotally in my travels around the country talking to teachers. And while I know we need to define “achievement” and “workforce,” those numbers are a pretty severe indictment of the Common Core if accurate.

But I’d love to be asking a number of other questions of these teachers and principals  (and I’ll put my guesses as to what the answers would be in parenthesis):

  • Do you have the skills and abilities to learn with online social media? (21%)
  • Are you knowledgable about and regularly engage in personal and professional learning opportunities online? (20%)
  • Do you regularly engage in discussions about learning with technology with your teachers (or with your principals)? (8%)
  • Do you take responsibility for your own professional development? (11%)
  • Are you “literate” as defined by the National Council Teachers of English? (5%)
  • Are you encouraged and supported to innovate with technology in your classrooms and schools? (18%)

(Add your own below if you like.)

Feel free to push back on those guesses, which, I’m sure, many will think to be too low. I’m basing my responses on visits to dozens of schools with thousands of teachers in the last year.

And please don’t read my guesses as “teachers suck.” There is no blame here; we happen to be teaching and leading and learning at what may well be the fastest, hairiest moment of change in education ever. It’s no surprise that we’re struggling to catch up. But I do think every educator has a responsibility to get moving in these directions.

The larger point is this: in three years we can get everyone up to speed on the Common Core, a set of standards that have problematic origins and implementation, for which we don’t have an assessment, and around which people are profiting bajillions of dollars, but we can’t seem to make much headway on getting our practice wrapped around a much larger, more profound, more important shift in the way we and our kids are going to live and work and learn with technology.

Disconcerting at best. 

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