In only one other state has Common Core been adopted and then treated with respect in regards to its effect on the students and teachers. Vermont joined the many adopters on August 17, 2010 with the goal to see a full integration by the 2013-14 school year. While mistakes have been made along the way, the state is a far cry from the outrage felt in other states.
Handling it Like Adults
While Vermont is full of proponents and opponents alike, the main focus has always remained on the children. Because of this almost tunnel vision view of the adoption, even the opponents are happy to go through with the change even though they still await evidence to see if it’s as wonderful as the proponents believe it will be. For the most part, however, educators are on board, seeing the new standards as a relevant way to prepare their students for college and the real world.
To Vermont, the Common Core was a welcome change, replacing antiquated curricula that varied dramatically across the small state. The leaders that adopted the change have kept in contact with the teachers across the state to make sure they’re comfortable with the shift as well. It’s this open dialogue that has ended up saving Vermont from the debates now tearing apart other states.
Unfortunately, not everything had gone according to plan. The biggest mistake the state made was its poor communication with the public. Because of this, parents have a skewed take on the Core. While educators nevertheless hold workshops and invite everyone out to meetings, it seems to be coming a bit too late. Miscommunication has led to a somewhat troubling rift that will take some time to smooth over.
Differences in Preparation
Another challenge faced by the state falls on the readiness of each school. Though some were already hooked up to the internet and outfitted with all the latest technologies, many are struggling to find the resources to upgrade. On top of this, the state as implemented a “ready or not” approach that seems to have ignored the needs of the struggling schools.
In essence, the state believes it is the responsibility of each school and each individual teacher to prepare in time for full Core integration. The results have been predictable. Those educators that know how to plan in advance have been prepping since 2011 and are, currently, awaiting the go ahead. Those that are a bit lazier are now scrambling to pull together what they need to help the kids pass their new standardized test.
All in all, Vermont stands as a glowing example of the positive effect a continued stream of open dialogue has on implementing new standards. Though not an entirely perfect rollout, it nevertheless has staved off some of the more troublesome problems seen across the rest of the country.