Teachers are valuable for their critical thinking skills. Just giving a teacher the materials and saying “Go teach!” is not enough. The professional can synthesize the common core standards and create focused expectations the students can meet. Only a teacher has his “ear to the ground” and truly knows how the kids learn. Teachers are the best to decide what the lessons should consist of. Getting there to set those expectations requires teaching, assessment, and analysis of the assessment. When all that is done, we can create focused expectations based on our professional assessment. Politicians can’t create focused expectations because they aren’t with the students every day. Parents can do it but it won’t reflect what the majority need as well as what the developmental learners do. Administrators can’t do it because they are caught up day to day in the social and physical aspects of running the school. This leaves us with teachers, the best ones to create expectations and measure progress toward goals.
Certain key standards should be weighted heavier. Reason being because they tie in to a strand of other standards. For example: multiplication. If students don’t have their times tables memorized by 4th grade, they will not be able to advance into higher math like division, fractions and higher. Because these key standards are so important, the teacher should revisit them until 70% or higher of the class shows proficiency. Other teachers may have other opinions on what key standards are but I have talked to many elementary level teachers who agree with me. It’s an overwhelming time in teaching this year due to the new Common Core standards. I would advise teachers who are getting bogged down in details to identify goals that apply to your class. For example, I have a goal that my class would all test out for their times tables by Valentines Day. They were supposed to have them mastered in 3rd grade, I am 4th grade, but I have to work with what I have so I am creating specialized focused expectations. The payoff is success across related standards. What is a key standard you could focus on?