Vital issue: teacher training
The Common Core always seems to be making headlines. But the all-important issue of teacher training in connection with the core too often gets lost. So, it was heartening to see this issue on the cover of the Sunday New York Times magazine.
The magazine article is about professional development for educators teaching the new math. Some excerpts are posted below for our readers. Let us know how they resonate with you.
“The trouble always starts when teachers are told to put innovative ideas into practice without much guidance on how to do it.”
“With the Common Core, teachers are once more being asked to unlearn an old approach and learn an entirely new one, essentially on their own. Training is still weak and infrequent, and principals — who are no more skilled at math than their teachers — remain unprepared to offer support. Textbooks, once again, have received only surface adjustments, despite the shiny Common Core labels that decorate their covers. “To have a vendor say their product is Common Core is close to meaningless,” says Phil Daro, an author of the math standards.”
“Today the frustrating descent from good intentions to tears is playing out once again, as states across the country carry out the latest wave of math reforms: the Common Core. A new set of academic standards developed to replace states’ individually designed learning goals, the Common Core math standards are like earlier math reforms, only further refined and more ambitious.”
“And yet, once again, the reforms have arrived without any good system for helping teachers learn to teach them. Responding to a recent survey by Education Week, teachers said they had typically spent fewer than four days in Common Core training, and that included training for the language-arts standards as well as the math.”