Becoming a Core Advocate

November 16, 2014

Have you ever done something and not realized until after you started that it was going to be amazing?

Today I started working towards becoming a Core Advocate. If you’re not entirely sure what that means, you are not alone! Even as I was on my way here (to Chicago) to attend this convening, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself into.

I was sure I was going to learn about Common Core. I was sure I would hear dynamic and passionate speakers share why they believe in Common Core. I was hoping that I would learn more about Common Core and why it is important to the students I teach.

But I still wasn’t sure why it was important to attain the label of “Core Advocate.”

I mean, really. Why should anyone listen to little ol’ me? Why should I put myself out there to advocate for something so controversial in many ways?

Well, today I started to figure it out.

I was right. I have learned about Common Core. I have heard other teachers share why Common Core is at the heart of their teaching beliefs. And I have certainly gained a better understanding of why Common Core is so important to the students I teach.

Becoming a Core Advocate means that I can adequately defend the importance of the Common Core State Standards as a viable means to “leveling the playing field.” I can discuss and defend my position about the Instructional Shifts required to give all students access to an education that will prepare them for college OR career. Or for anything they decide to do after their K-12 journey is over.

I’m no Pollyanna, folks. I know that the CCSS have their down sides. But truly? It’s not the standards that have the problems. Who can argue with rigorous standards that ask students to become thinkers instead of answer-getters? The problems lie with how they are implemented. Who makes the decisions about implementation. Text book companies that stamp “Common Core Aligned” on the front cover in order to sell more books, make more money, and continue on with the “old ways” of doing business while duping well-meaning districts and educators into thinking they are meeting the new standards.

I can’t get behind poor implementation decisions. I can’t get behind districts that twist CCSS intentions, and push teachers into a “my-way-or-the-highway” way of thinking. I can’t get behind greedy text book publishers who just see the Common Core as a giant pile of dollar signs.

But the Common Core State Standards? Advocating for a shift in our instructional thinking to improve the lives of students? I can get behind that.

Please stay tuned for more posts about my experiences with Common Core and the journey towards becoming a Core Advocate. In future posts, I will elaborate on what exactly I have learned, and how it is impacting learning in my classroom. I hope to start a (civil) dialogue about what educators are doing and thinking about Common Core around the country! 

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