The thoughtful conversation found in Rick Hess’s interview with Student Achievement’s Jason Zimba about the challenges of CCSS implementation is a welcome reprieve from the noise generated by CCSS critics lately. The idea that the CCSS do not allow you to get to Algebra in 8th grade, or to teach great literature in EVERY grade, is ludicrous. I know this because my organization, Common Core, has created extensive curriculum materials based on both the ELA and mathematics standards. And when you write detailed curricula you get to know the standards on which they are based quite well.
That said, standards are just standards. And even world-class standards like the CCSS will succeed only if they are implemented with fidelity. High-quality curriculum and effective professional development are the keys to our students’ success. How about we have a discussion about how to do those well rather than continue this navel-gazing conversation about standards that teachers are already putting in to practice in almost every state? While wonks bicker the forces of establishment mediocrity are struggling to keep their stranglehold on classrooms and cement low achievement for another generation. The standards present an opportunity to—and a world-class platform for—truly changing what happens in America’s classrooms. It would be tragic to miss that opportunity. Let’s get in the game.