Standards

Media Specialist’s Role in Common Core Standards

Background

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an initiative sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that seeks to align the diverse state curricula via an integration/adoption of the principles of standards-based education.
This initiative is believed to be an outgrowth of the so-called “Accountability Movement,” in which states have been for the past twenty years required to assess student achievement through standardized testing by which they have are expected to demonstrate a common core of knowledge that all citizens should have to be successful in this country. As part of this overarching education reform movement, state governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, Inc. in 1996 as a bi-partisan organization to raise academic standards, graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability in all 50 states.

The initial motivation for the development of the Common Core State Standards was part of the American Diploma Project (ADP). A 2004 report titled, “Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts,” found that the then “current high-school exit expectations fell well short of [employer and college] demands.” The report explained that a high school diploma in the U.S. was and continues to be a “broken-promise that reflected inadequate preparation for the intellectual demands of adult life, This report further suggested that the solution to combat this problem is a common set of rigorous standards.

Announced on June 1, 2009, the initiative’s stated purpose is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.” Forty-five of the fifty states in the United States are members of the initiative (Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Minnesota did not adopt the initiative at a state level).

Standards were released for mathematics and English language arts on June 2, 2010, with a majority of states adopting the standards in the subsequent months. (See below for current status.) States were given an incentive to adopt the Common Core Standards through the possibility of competitive federal Race to the Top grants. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Race to the Top competitive grants on July 24, 2009 as a motivator for education reform. To be eligible, states had to adopt bench-marked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the buy Cialis 
work place. This meant that in order for a state to be eligible for these grants, the states had to adopt the Common Core State Standards or a similar career and college readiness curriculum. The competition for these grants provided a major push for states to adopt the standards.

The adoption dates for all states that chose to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative took place within the two years following this announcement. The common standards are funded by the governors and state schools chiefs, with additional support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and others. States are planning to implement this initiative by 2015[14] by basing at least 85% of their state curricula on the Standards.


Bringing the Common Core to Life

On April 28, 2001, participants in a statewide conference on Common Core met in New York State to engage with David Coleman, a leading author and architect of the Common Core State Standards, to understand how the Core Standards for College and Career Readiness build on the work New York State has done in developing a standards-based system and their specific implications for teachers and instructional leaders state wide.
Below is a complete video recording of that conference (found off of the following site: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/resources/bringing-the-common-core-to-life.html). The complete video runs just under 2 hours.

This shorter introductory video is on the left. The full video with complete comments by Mr. Coleman is on the right:



What all of this Means to You: The Media Specialist

Common Core Standards introduce discuss the "what" of curriculum: what students should know and be able to do, but it does not mandate the how or by whom, nor are they necessarily assigned to any single teacher. Schools can design lessons and strategies to address the standards, giving media specialists the opportunity to become actively involved. In an April 2011 presentation to the Iowa Association of School Librarians, Rita Martens from the Iowa Department of Education identified five key areas in which media specialists can support the implementation of Common Core Standards:

  1. Creating sound persuasive arguments with evidence
  2. Reading comprehension strategies
  3. Effectively using primary and secondary sources
  4. Reading and analyzing complex texts
  5. Reading and comprehending informational text in all content areas

If your school is serious about implementing the Common Core (as it well should be), then media specialists can be at the center of this initiative at your school. This role fits perfectly well with our concept of re-inventing/re-purposing the role of the media specialist into becoming a instructional designer/technologist in the 21st century.

AASL has developed a Common Core Crosswalk, whose purpose is twofold:

  • It charts out AASL learning standards in Language Arts, History, Science & Technology, and Writing and and pairs them with all applicable Common Core skill activities.
  • It charts the Common Core Standards by grade level and looks for information skill components where they exist. This allows you to readily spot where the opportunities are to offer curriculum support.

It appears that the Common Core will change our focus from "literature appreciation" to increasing information literacy skills -derived form reading in the content area.

Carolyn Jo Starkey; Buckhorn High School; New Market, AL has provided a great resource to help you get started on LiveBinders. This web-based tool functions as a three-ring binder, allowing users to collect and organize links and media located at http://livebinders.com/edit?id=84777.



Here is a recent article from the Missourian that outlines how some schools are attempting to implement Common Core with the aide of their media specialists: