Math Teacher on Why We Need Common Core Standards

CNN’s School of Thought blog often features opinons from educational experts and thought leaders. Today they featured Jon Wray, board member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, on why we need the Common Core Standards.

If you’re curious to learn more on what the Common Core Standards are all about, we suggest checking it out.

Jon begins by explaining that the U.S. is ranked far behind other countries in mathematics education. We’re 25th out of 34 developing countries. Jon goes on to explain that part of the problem is that each state has different measurements of success. Both students and teachers must adjust to new criteria if they move across country or to a new district. The Common Core State Standards change all of that. Soon teachers will be following the same criteria thanks to this program led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Jon explains:

The aim of this state-led program is to develop practices and criteria the entire nation can rally behind, so students can prepare for success in a global society.

While the idea behind the standards is admirable, Jon notes that the standards also present new challenges for educators. Teachers will face new standards, some which may be unfamiliar, and they’ll need to develop new methods to teach these concepts to students. Jon was inspired by this dilemma to create the Core Challenge program to help teachers plan to meet new standards and share ideas with one another. Jon explains how it works:

Based on the notion that teachers overwhelmingly prefer resources created by fellow teachers, we asked each participating educator to supply just one exemplary teaching idea to an online library.

The Core Challenge has already accumulated a wealth of resources for teachers, most submitted as Livescribe pencasts. Teachers used Livescribe (a TriplePoint client) smartpen technology to record and share lessons. Jon noted that teachers are using the smarpten to “create interactive written material that displays in sync with recorded audio lessons. For subjects like mathematics, where having visual and symbolic representations on the page is vital, these pencasts have proven especially effective, with 160 such submissions to date.” Check out example lesson ideas at: