Common Core Communication Network: General Overview/Rationale

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How Well are American Students Learning

Description: Tom Loveless of the Brookings Insitute’s Brown Center on Education Policy reviews the results of the Brown Center Report, which examines trends in instruction and achievement across the country. The first section, dealing with the effects or correlation of Common Core adoption, looks at changing trends in emphasis in reading and math instruction, and changes (or lack thereof) in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results. See the "What Critics Are Saying" section for a link to Loveless's discussion of the political ramifications of the report.

Louisiana Teachers Show How Common Core Advances Classroom Learning

Description: Podcast and full transcript of an interview with two 4th grade teachers — one language arts, one mathematics — from Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Conducted as part of Learning First Alliance’s podcast series Get it Right: Common Sense on the Common Core, the interview explores how the adoption of Common Core has changed their specific teaching styles for the better, and how the “deep learning” associated with the changes have helped students achieve what they could not before. Topics include the importance of institutional support, communicating about the changes with parents, and the feeling that good teachers will want to keep some aspects of Common Core even if the state should back away from it for political reasons. Published March 2016.

A Struggle Worth Having for Students

Description: In a Washington Post op/ed, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz makes his case for supporting the Common Core. Colorado unveiled Common Core five years ago, and while the process has been difficult, Kyle explains that the challenges helped educators do their jobs with more intention and understanding.

Getting Common Core Right: What We’ve Learned

Description: The Learning First Alliance (LFA), has launched a campaign called Get It Right, an initiative focused on what states and districts are doing to “get it right” when it comes to the Common Core. This report helps highlight three key findings LFA has discovered since the campaign began.

National PTA Common Core Video Series

Description: This video series, developed through a partnership with the Hunt Institute, was designed to educate parents on the Common Core State Standards and empower them to support the transition at school and at home.

How to Talk Publicly About the Common Core

Description: NSPRA's Senior Common Core consultant, Jim Dunn, APR, was recently featured in AASA's School Administrator magazine explaining how to talk publicly about the Common Core. Check out this archived article from the organization's Common Core-focused May issue.

Michael Petrilli on the Common Core Standards Initiative

Description: Thomas B. Fordham Institute's Executive Vice President Michael Petrilli went on C-Span to share information on the Common Core. He explained their role in overall U.S. education policy and the ongoing debate over the adoption of the standards in states.

A Lesson on the Common Core

Description: In a slideshow accompanied by a blog post, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation addresses some key facts and messages to clear up misconceptions about the purpose and "reach" of the Common Core. The blog post is from Ann M. Fudge, a member of the Advisory Board for the United States Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chamber of Commerce Foundation Common Core Video

Description: The short video shares key messages about the Common Core delivered by classroom teachers, education leaders, business leaders, and politicians alike. It explains why the Common Core is a necessary and good attempt to better align education to the expectations of the business and collegiate communities.

Common Core 101

Description: Common Core 101, a backgrounder prepared by the Alliance for Excellent Education, addresses six questions many critics and skeptics of the Common Core are asking.

Executive Briefing on the Common Core

Description: NSPRA has prepared a succinct executive briefing, explaining the Common Core and its importance in college and career readiness. If you're looking for a short, two to three page description to give your boss the need-to-know facts, this is it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Description: NSPRA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and shares the answers. Topics range from standards vs. curriculum, implementation, development, the government's role in them, and how they are intended to improve the American education system. Have a question that isn't addressed? Let us know at

Common Core Video from California PTA

Description: This great, three-minute video explaining Common Core was done by California State PTA. It explains how the Common Core State Standards will help students achieve at high levels and help them learn what they need to know to get to graduation and beyond.

What to Make of the Debate Over Common Core

Description: Among people who are aware that the Common Core exists, a war rages. Supporters assert the possibilities of Common Core, encouraging students to think and analyze instead of memorize test answers. Critics cling to the notion that this is a federal mandate in sheep’s clothing, and that students privacy may be intruded on. Here’s what you need to understand about what others are saying and what the truth is about the Common Core.

Common Core State Standards Background

Description: This backgrounder, developed by the National Governors Association, shares some valuable information about the Common Core State Standards, key messages about them, and some frequently asked questions.

Future Ready Project - Common Core Resources from Achieve, Inc.

Description: Achieve, Inc., one of the main players in the development of the Common Core State Standards has compiled this wealth of resources for people seeking more understanding of the Common Core under the name the Future Ready Project. You can search by topics, by prospective audience, resource type, or title.

Communicating with Stakeholders

Description: Jim Dunn shares his view of what public school communications professionals need to know about communicating Common Core State Standards to their stakeholders. He has included some talking points, areas of advice, and key information that all school PR professionals should know about CCSS.

Learning about Common Core Resources Available for Teachers

Description: Although this isn’t exactly a resource to communicate about the Common Core, it will help you discuss what the Common Core is, why it is necessary, and how it will help students. With more than 80 resources to help educators teach math, language arts, and science, it’s a great resource to have in your back pocket.

Common Core Implementation Video Series

Description: Videos created by the Hunt Institute and the Council of Chief State School Officers help educators, policy makers and parents understand the Common Core and how to use it most effectively. The videos are meant to be conversation starters, advisory materials in developing curriculum, engagement tools, and support-building devices to get the community behind the district.

Facts as Talking Points

Description: NSPRA has developed a comprehensive list of facts that you can use in your Common Core communication efforts. This information comes "straight from the horse's mouth," from the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, as well as others.

Core Standards – FAQ

Description: Frequently asked questions developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Subjects include: overview, development process, implementation, future work, content and quality of the standards. It explains the importance of these standards, how they differ from previous attempts to reform education, and their role in helping improve education.

Sample Letters

Description: If you are unsure how to share information about the Common Core with your school's parents, consider using language from this sample letter. Or, if you want to write to your state legislator urging them to support the Common Core, you can educate them on its benefits with the sample letter for legislators. There are also several quotes that you can attribute and include for teachers, to help add a voice to the letter.

Common Core State Standards: State Spotlights

Description: This guidebook provides examples of how states are aligning existing standards with Common Core standards, how they plan to implement the program, and how they are supporting educators with the transition. It also provides examples of how to engage your community in supporting the standards. The organization (CCSSO) believes that through system alignment and systems change, educator supports, student supports, and communication/engagement, education can improve through these new standards.

Example Common Core Community Newsletter

Description: Bay Village Schools developed a special print edition of their community newsletter, School News, to address the Common Core State Standards. It includes an at-a-glance, "infographic" centerfold, and has received a very positive response from community members and our teachers.

Arizona's Common Core Standards Communication Toolkit

Description: The Arizona Public Engagement Task Force has created a toolkit of resources that are designed to help raise public awareness and garner support for Arizona’s Common Core Standards within your community. Whether you are a community leader, business, non-profit, or educator working to inform your community about Arizona education, we hope this Toolkit will be useful to you.

Does the Common Core Demoralize Teachers?

Description: In a Huffington Post op/ed, author Sarah Brown Wessling (2010 Teacher of the Year), shares concerns that face many teachers today regarding the Common Core. She says many teachers feel the Common Core is one more thing added to their already packed school day, and with no competing programs being taken away to focus on successfully implementing it, teachers are wary. She says they are also concerned that it will take away their autonomy. She shares her rebuttals to these concerns and some mantras to help teachers handle these changes and become more effective in the process.

David Musselwhite: Values of the Common Core: Equity, Competition, and Collaboration

Description: David Musselwhite, Common Core State Standards Initiative Team Leader for the Michigan PTA, wrote a response to a piece that appeared in an earlier EdWeek blog, questioning whether the Common Core is meant to instill authoritarianism. He says that the Common Core is meant to bring out a healthy sense of competition, equity, and collaboration. He says that American students’ poorer academic performance necessitates an upheaval of the current educational program. He supports the Common Core as a solution to helping students catch up to their international counterparts.

Sample Common Core Newsletter Article

Description: Park Hill School District wrote an article for their Winter 2012 edition of the Park Hill Connection, to educate its school community about the Common Core. You can use this example as a template for your own communication.

Common Core GPS

Description: Cobb County School District shared their microsite designed to help people navigate and understand the Common Core. There are resources for educators and parents, as well as a timeline, and more topic-specific information. Cobb County Schools describe the Common Core State Standards as a way to build upon the strength of current standards to boost the competitive advantage of American students, who for the first time will have the opportunity to meet the academic standards set by top-performing countries.

The Assessment Consortia

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

PARCC is a consortium of 23 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students' progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (Smarter Balanced)

Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is developing an assessment system aligned to the CCSS by the 2014-15 school year. The states that are a member of the Smarter Balanced consortium are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

National Center and State Collaborative Partnership (NCSC)

NCSC is building a comprehensive assessment system that includes project-developed products and processes to support educators as they plan for and provide appropriate instruction that addresses common standards. These supports will help Individualized Education Program teams accurately identify the learner characteristics of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and make appropriate decisions about how each student participates in the overall system of assessments. The 19 state partners are: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Pacific Assessment Consortium (PAC-6), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortia (DLM)

DLM is a group of 13 states dedicated to the development of an alternative assessment system. The DLM project is guided by the core belief that all students should have access to challenging grade-level content. The new DLM alternate assessment system will let students with significant cognitive disabilities show what they know in ways that traditional multiple-choice tests cannot. The consortium includes the states of Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Assessment Services Supporting English Language Learners Through Technology Systems Consortium (ASSETS)

The ASSETS project was awarded an Enhanced Assessment Grant in fall 2011 for nearly $10.5 million over 4 years to build a comprehensive and balanced technology-based assessment system for English language learners. The assessment system will be anchored in WIDA's English Language Proficiency Standards that are aligned with the CCSS, will be informed by rigorous ongoing research, and supported by comprehensive professional development and outreach. WIDA will maintain its consortium approach to decision-making about the design and direction of the project and will involve the expertise of nationally renowned partners.

ELPA21 Consortium

The purpose of the ELPA21 consortium is to enhance the quality of assessments used by states for measuring the development of student's English language proficiency (ELP).  The consortium will develop a system of valid and reliable ELP assessment instruments that align in deep and meaningful ways with college- and career-readiness standards in English language arts, mathematics and science. The English Language Proficiency Development (ELPD) Framework will be used to guide the development of ELP standards that reflect the academic vocabulary and English language skills needed to be successful in the content area classes. These ELP standards will be adopted by all member states and will be measured by the ELPA21 assessments.

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