Live Blog: Common Core Standards

May 20, 2013

9:56: Gage says over the summer, all five regions of state putting together professional development for teachers to help with implementing Common Core standards. “We’re going to be working very diligently.”

9:52: Question about impact of students at upper end of academic scale, says his daughter’s needs are not being met. Peterson says the nation is not challenging high school students enough. 

9:49: Peterson says the expectations have to be clear, “All of that is exactly what Common Core is all about.” It’s great to say teachers can do whatever way they think is best, but we haven’t yet discovered how to motivate students and get great teachers into the classroom. “The standards don’t teach themselves – the teachers have to be the mechanism.”

Credit James Sarmiento / Flickr

9:46: Caller from Manchester asks how standards and curriculum can be divided. Gage says Common Core standards do not define curriculum, or how the standards are taught in the classroom. “There’s no federal mandate on the Common Core state standards.”

9:44: Hainey says the national AFT president asked for moratorium on high-stakes testing, “You have to look at the whole picture, not just the test score.”

9:40: Peterson says not just a partisan issue, some Republicans supportive; most opposition coming from teachers, says AFT just asked for accountability for teachers be postponed.

9:38: Gage says when it comes to what’s happening in the classroom, it’s about making sure teachers have the tools they need.

9:35: Hainey says she has concerns about the test taking for students, some are not good test takers. “When we start comparing ourselves to other countries, it’s the tests.” Says that doesn’t take into account creativity, independent thinking.

9:34: Peterson says to look at this as something different than what’s been done before is setting up for disappointment. It's "an interesting new twist on an old idea."

9:31: Teacher from Manchester calls to say she’s looking forward to new standards, says Common Core will look more toward authentic inquiry from students.

9:29: Gage says NECAP will be phased out, new tests will be developed with the Smarter Balanced consortium, working together to build a common assessment to evaluate how students are doing against these standards. The new test will go into effect spring of 2015.

9:24: Question from Nottingham, college professor, says product of public schools is a disaster, asks what the Common Core will do to change that. Peterson says that’s the motivation behind the standards; the basic idea was to set up a set of expectations so all students will be college ready. “It makes a lot of sense to have a clear set of expectations.” But with all the variation, to get them all on the same page “will be a tremendous challenge.”

9:20: Peterson says effort is a “continuation of an attempt to set up a national set of standards.” That means it will encounter same set of problems, in that states vary widely in student performance. “This means some states are going to have some very bad looking records out there.” That will lead to political pressure.

9:16: Hainey says national level required teacher involvement in development of standards. “I’m just hoping moving forward that will continue.” New standards will be more specific. “I think there’s going to be a lot more conversations in the schools about how students are performing.” Much of what students will have to know will be the same, but process will be different.

9:14: Gage says the discussion of standards-based reform goes back to the 1980s. The state and governors came together and brought in teachers and parents and asked how we can do this better. Teams came together to look at math and English language arts standards. This particular effort started in 2008.

9:12: Peterson says the nation has been searching for a way to improve student proficiency. “That’s what the Common Core is about – can we raise the expectations we have of our students here to those that exist worldwide?" Says NCLB has a gotten little bit of a bad rap, as student performance has improved.

9:11: Hainey says 75 percent of teachers support Common Core, based on survey of members. Helped that teachers were involved in the conversation. There are some concerns about implementation. “You need to have the teachers to be able to unpack these standards.” Need to understand difference between standards and curriculum.

9:10: Gage says, “We need to be focused in education.” With all of the reform efforts going on, it’s difficult. Stage agencies and districts trying to make sure teachers have what they need. “We need these standards now” to make sure students are college and career ready.

8:35: The guests on today's Exchange include:

  • Heather Gage: Director of the Division of Instruction at the New Hampshire Dept. of Education.
  • Laura Hainey: President of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Federation of Teachers
  • Paul Peterson: Director of the Harvard University program on education policy, editor-in-chief of the journal called Education Next, and author of the forthcoming book, Endangering Prosperity: a Global View of the American School.

8:30: New Hampshire is one of 45 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted the Common Core Standards.

They are a set of requirements for what students should know in math and English at each grade level.

They were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

7:30: The Common Core Standards are coming to a school near you.

So...what are they, exactly?

Today on The Exchange, we dig into the issue, and help explain what the changes will mean for your local school.

You can follow the discussion here.

We'll be live blogging the discussion, starting at 9, here at