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Red Flags on the Road to Common Core State Standards Reform


by Ronald Gallimore & James Hiebert — February 28, 2014

Implementation is a challenging phase of education reform. In many locales, the rush is on to quickly implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In some districts, textbooks and curriculum materials were delivered only days before school began. Many offered only minimal professional development to help teachers understand what kind of student learning the new standards aim for, and to develop new forms of instruction to support that learning. Despite these circumstances, teachers were still expected to teach the CCSS, and get students ready for new, more demanding assessments coming soon. In too many cases, there is little appreciation that the final, decisive implementation step is teachers planning, trying out, and revising new lessons. Week by week, in small incremental steps, change comes. Often progress is uneven, slower than anticipated, and runs afoul of “hurry-up” pressures that kill reforms before they are ever fully implemented. Evidence is mounting that incremental improvement is the best way to get lasting results –– in medicine, teaching, and industry. Even with robust support for incremental progress, it will take years of collaboration by teachers and administrators for the full benefits of CCSS to be realized. Red flags are up.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: February 28, 2014
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17451, Date Accessed: 11/27/2014 8:12:19 PM

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About the Author
  • Ronald Gallimore
    University of California, Los Angeles
    E-mail Author
    RONALD GALLIMORE is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Grawemeyer Laureate (1993). His longitudinal projects include Kamehameha laboratory school, immigrant Latino students and families, school improvement projects, & teaching practices of Coach John Wooden. He co-directed the 1999 TIMSS Video Studies of Teaching. Currently, he conducts research on improvement of teaching and coaching. Ronaldgallimore.com
  • James Hiebert
    University of Delaware
    E-mail Author
    JAMES HIEBERT is the Robert J. Barkley Professor of Education at the University of Delaware and co-author of The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas from the World’s Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom. He has directed the mathematics portion of the TIMSS-R Video Study and is co-PI of the NSF-funded Mid-Atlantic Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics and a longitudinal study of the effects of mathematics teacher preparation on teaching practices.
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