The two largest teacher unions in the US have positioned themselves as active supporters of the Common Core (wanted to be national) Standards. A visit to the NEA web site reveals President Dennis Van Roekel's column praising the project.
CSS offers a vivid, practical example of NEA's Leading the Professions initiative, a three-part plan to transform the teaching profession and accelerate student learning. Educators will have the opportunity to translate these broad standards into creative, relevant, and engaging class lessons that help students learn in new ways that truly prepare them for lifelong learning. This is not to downplay anyone wrestling with doubt about Common Core - states will struggle, some educators will chafe - but as long as we can accept this, and embrace the transition, educators and public education can come out ahead.
The American Federation of Teachers has a bit of a mixed message. On the one hand, we have the "Learning is more than a test score" campaign, which asks visitors to sign a petition calling for an end to high stakes tests. On the other, the union's Share My Lesson site has a special section devoted to resources aligned with the Common Core, and Randi Weingarten has written,
Establishing these standards is a critical first step, and now the real work begins. We need to use these standards as the foundation for better schools, but we must do more--as the countries we compete with do.
But I think the time has come for a serious reappraisal of this stance.