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Kevin Walters Lakewood High School
STEINHAUER TO LEGISLATORS: LET’S GET COMMON CORE IMPLEMENTATION RIGHT
When the Assembly Education Committee invited NJEA President Wendell Steinhau- er to testify on the implementation of the Common Core
But if the standards are so good, why did legislators call for a hearing on the Common Core?
Steinhauer believes that two major problems are undermining confidence in the new standards and their effectiveness in the classroom: implementation and
the curriculum to meet those standards for the particular students they are teaching. Teachers also need time and professional learning opportunities to adjust their teach- ing strategies appropriately.
“It’s hard work, and it’s time consum- ing,” he said. “Without proper implementa- tion, the Common Core has no value to students. It’s a bit like buying a top-of-the- line luxury car, but not putting any gas in the tank.”
Steinhauer maintains that “the rushed, misguided implementation of the new evaluation system, and especially of the PARCC testing that too much of it is built around, is dragging Common Core down with it in the court of teacher and public opinion.”
While the Common Core demands col- laboration, “teachers are being subjected at the same time to an evaluation system that emphasizes student test scores. That means that they are held personally responsible for those students’ test scores,” he said.
“Teachers in tested subjects will be
left with no choice but to focus on test preparation, and we’ve seen the damage done by that under No Child Left Behind,” Steinhauer reminded legislators.
In order to effectively implement the Common Core, the NJEA president called for more time and an evaluation system that recognizes the kind of collaborative teaching that the standards require.
“You cannot have standards and a cur- riculum that make teaching and learning a shared responsibility succeed alongside an evaluation system that says the very opposite,” Steinhauer said.
Any hopes for a successful transition to the Common Core and a meaningful teacher evaluation system in New Jersey “must begin with the recognition that student learning is far too complex and important to be boiled down to so-called student growth percentiles based on stan- dardized tests, with the results assigned to individual teachers,” concluded Steinhauer.
You can see a video of Steinhauer’s testimony on njea.org or click on the link below to watch on youtube: