June 05, 2013 20:22 Age: 5 yrs

Op-Ed: Common Core Gives Gift of Clarity, Feedback

Category: News, Home, Doug McCurry
By: Doug McCurry

At Achievement First, we believe high expectations are key to academic success. In today's New Haven Register op-ed, Co-CEO and Superintendent Doug McCurry explains why all districts should embrace the Common Core. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

"With all this noise out there, I want to stand on my virtual podium, clear my voice and shout it loud and proud: Achievement First fully embraces the Common Core!

The Common Core does what forward-thinking educators have been screaming about for years: It increases rigor, focuses on critical thinking, aligns a curriculum from kindergarten to grade 12 to college ready standards, and focuses on fewer standards in more depth. I’m anticipating that once Common Core-aligned test results come out, Achievement First’s students, (like students throughout the state and country) will have some pretty suboptimal results. You will not hear me or other AF leaders blame the test, complain that we needed more time or spend one minute of my energy on that topic.

I just don’t get the counter arguments.

'It’s too hard.' Really? There is really a compelling argument for the status quo? For watered-down reading passages and asking insipid, right-there-in-the-text-with-little-thinking questions? For math that asks kids the product of 354 x 54 (not a bad thing for kids to know how to do) but doesn’t insist that they use multiplication (and other skills) to become nimble problem solvers?

The problem isn’t that the test is too hard. The problem has been that our instruction and expectations for students — at AF and across the fruited plains — have been too low for too long.

'High-stakes testing is inherently bad.' All sizzle, no meat. How would we know, in an efficient and clear way, which kids are learning and how schools are doing? I don’t see how a well-crafted test (which the Common Core is) shouldn’t be one important measure of school quality."

To read the full piece, please visit the New Haven Register.