NEA adjusts its support on Common Core until implementation issues resolved

After listening to educators across the country, the National Education Association (NEA) is adjusting its support of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) until teachers have had the opportunity to share their expertise and advice on its implementation. As a result, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel is asking states and lawmakers to also make a "course correction" and "follow and implement educator's common sense recommendations to get implementation of CCSS on track."

Van Roekel and the NEA have been strong supporters of CCSS since 2010 and since 46 states adopted them. Now, after listening to more than 10,000 teachers, he still supports the standards, but is convinced that implementation of the standards is chaotic.

"My greatest fear for the students of America is that we may lose the promise of the Common Core standards because we screwed up the implementation," Van Roekel said. 

Early results from NEA polling this winter show that enthusiasm among NEA members for Common Core has slipped since last year. NEA found that 26 percent of teachers endorsed Common Core enthusiastically; 50 percent back it with reservations; and 13 percent felt they didn't know enough to form an opinion. NEA is currently polling its members with a focus on implementation of the Standards.

To get CCSS on track, Van Roekel recommends states work with the NEA and state associations so teachers are at the center of efforts to align curriculum with the standards, develop relevant professional development, and field-test and validate new assessments. 

Most importantly, Van Roekel recommends states put off using any assessments to evaluate teacher performance until the 2015-16 school year. In Michigan, the Legislature is still debating what assessment should be used, even though the State Board of Education has recommended the Smarter Balanced tests. And there still is no decision on what statewide teacher evaluation instrument will be used and how much student performance will be count in those evaluations.

Go to www.nea.org to read Van Roekel's full statement and his recommendations.