NCLB inspired the catastrophic loss of a decade of quality instruction.  There are several theories about why this initiative was a huge fail, yet it was most likely devised with noble intentions.  Nevertheless, many will be glad to see it go. “In order to receive a [NCLB] waiver, states had to agree to adopt “college and career ready” standards, including the Common Core, a set of curriculum standards that have already been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.” noted Kayla Webley in her article “The Beginning of the End for No Child Left Behind.”

Obama’s waivers are putting the power back in the hands of the state. Under North Carolina’s  ACRE [Accountability And Curriculum Reform Effort], extra days have been built into the school calendar for the purpose of training teachers in the Common Core and Essential Standards, which will roll out the 2012-2013 school year.  Common Core sets the standards we will follow for Math and English Language Arts instruction.  While the Essential Standards have been developed by the state of NC to complement the Common Core.  The understanding we have is that Math and ELA standards will be interwoven with the Essential Standards of Science, Social Studies, and ITES [Information & Technology Essential Standards] not to be confused with ISTE [Internation Society for Technology in Education].

One could spend hours pouring through the information posted online as NC and other states work to become more transparent by posting webinars, meeting minutes, presentations, and massive pdf files for public view.  Yet, to many in the Ed Biz, let alone anyone unfamiliar with the jargon, the information shared often comes across as lofty or ambiguous.  In the days and months ahead, lets “decode” the jargon, compare the state of NC with other states and portray an accurate picture of where we stand as we plan to move forward.

What I hope this transition promises our students is the opportunity to receive instruction aimed at the top tier of students, with plenty scaffolding to build up students who are climbing.  When we teach to the top, the rest will rise to the challenge.  Parents and educators must keep in mind is that this is best handled standard by standard, student by student rather than in a generalized fashion. Such precision is the work of creative intelligent educatists, artistic scientists who stretch themselves to raise up the best in those they lead forth.  This craft isn’t for the feeble minded and shouldn’t be laissez faire.

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