Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Education Week Leadership Forum, where eScholar was also one of the primary sponsors. This year’s theme was Road Maps to Common Core Success. Many of you probably know that the Common Core State Standards initiative is a major topic of discussion for educators across the US. As I mentioned in my post last week about SXSWedu, the Common Core is laying down important building blocks for personalized education. Much of the discussion at the forum was focused on how to successfully transition to the College and Career ready standards of the Common Core.
One of the keynote speakers at the forum was New York State Education Commissioner John King. We work with New York on both their adoption of the Common Core and their deeply related focus on personalizing education for each student. Commissioner King shared an interesting story about one of his recent visits to an elementary classroom where he had a chance to sit with a group of students during an ELA reading session. During his visit, one of his questions for the students was, “What is different about reading lessons this year, compared to last year?” The students answered, “We like it better. It’s more fun. We get to know the story better.” He had similar stories about students liking the focus on the concepts of math and not just the mechanics. That’s pretty compelling. By moving to the Common Core, students have the opportunity to explore a topic more deeply and they seem to like it better as a result.
Shifting to the Common Core is a significant challenge, but it seems to be beginning to have the intended effect in some of the pioneer schools. We all still have a great deal of work ahead of us, but it appears to be worth it.