Common Core State [sic] Standards
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Collaborating for the Common Core
Ohanian Comment: I guess I won't ask for my donation to the Chicago Teachers Union strike fund back, but. . . this article makes me come close. Actually, I'm working too hard to contain my nausea to be able to address an envelope.
Please, get away from The Table.
Whoever wrote the title for this AFT article is either very subtle or doesn't know history. For sure, the members of the Chicago Teachers Union--and all other members of the AFT--should study about Collaborators during World War II. Francois Hollande, the President of France,addressed this issue recently. The New York Review of Books excerpts his speech, "The 'Crime Committed in France, by France'." It should be required reading.
Working with all stakeholders to secure buy-in and success
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO overcome labor-management differences for the sake of your students.
That is why, even under the most challenging circumstances, union members and administrators are working together to implement a new set of teaching standards that could revolutionize learning.
The AFT believes in the Common Core State Standards, but also recognizes that they will only succeed if teachers are trained in implementation, and if there is buy-in beyond the union rank and file. So even in Chicago, where contract negotiations led to a strike vote in June, labor and management are collaborating to help faculty understand and begin to implement the standards.
"We all want what's best for our students, and Common Core is giving us a table to discuss what that is," says John Boggs, a National Board Certified Teacher and Chicago Teachers Union member. "This is something we all agree on, and we all feel passionately about," agrees Didi Swartz, Chicago Public Schools director of special projects.
Funded by the AFT Innovation Fund, union members and administrators in Chicago created unit development teams of teachers who wrote six new, teacher-driven learning units encompassing the Common Core standards. A summer event, "Collaborate Chicago!" showcased the work, and teachers are field-testing the units in the 2012-1.3 school year. Principals released the teams, which included four, five or six members, for three professional development days; team members and field testers also received a stipend.
Members of the Chicago Common Core team joined three other successful labormanagement teams at an AFT Common Core Stakeholders Conference this summer to share their success. In attendance were 19 other labor-management/community member teams, which were, for the most part, just getting started.
"I am a zealot about the Common Core, but I'm even more of a zealot about having to do the advocacy all together as a community," AFT president Randi Weingarten told conference participants.
"[That includes] parents, teachers, teacher leaders, unionists, superintendents, curriculum folk, clergy, school boards." Each team in attendance represented various combinations of a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
A team from Cleveland described the Common Core awareness symposia that labor and management organized together, along with professional development workshops and a system of "Common Core Champions" who help coordinate all things Common Core at their individual schools. The Volusia County, Fla., panel described its success with Thinking Math, an existing curriculum recently realigned to meet the new core curriculum. And Albuquerque, N.M., educators focused on their integration of English language learners as implementation gets under way there.
Participants also spent time "unpacking" the standards in detail, relating specific standards to actual curriculum and tasks for students; and they discussed related assessment and accountability strategies. Nuts-and-bolts tools were distributed as well, including examples of how colleagues in other districts found funding, samples of parent information letters explaining Common Core, even a flow chart outlining how to work successfully with disparate parties toward a common goal.
Conference participants were deeply committed to that concept of collaboration. "[If we don't] take the risk and work to build these relationships, we're always going to be shouting across the aisle at each other," said James Liou, a teacher from the Boston Teachers Union. "This has allowed us to collectively dip our toes in the water," said Kathleen Aldred, a professional development specialist also on the Boston team.
Weingarten agreed: "If we do that one thing that doesn't cost a dime- work together-we will be able to navigate through this."
"We all want what's best for our students."
-JOHN BOGGS, Chicago Teachers Union
September 01, 2012
Index of Common Core [sic] Standards
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