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Montgomery Joins Expert Panelists to Discuss Common Core Standards


IFT President Dan Montgomery discusses Common Core
Standards with an audience member after the seminar at the
Urban League Club in Chicago.


IFT President Dan Montgomery spoke to educators, school officials and other education stakeholders on November 8 at the Union League Club of Chicago about the impact of the Common Core Standards on teaching, assessments and learning in Illinois.

Montgomery, who is also an AFT vice president and member of the AFT’s ad hoc committee on Common Core Standards, was part of a three-member expert panel that also included Chris Koch, Illinois state superintendent of schools, and Samuel Meisels, president of the Erickson Institute.

Koch began the presentation with a rundown of how and why Illinois joined the 45 other states who have adopted Common Core Standards. The state superintendent of schools explained that Illinois was involved early in the process, and from the start has worked to bring preK-12 and higher education together to discuss how the Common Core Standards will impact Illinois at all grade levels. Engaging teachers in the process of discussing standards and assessments has been critical in this state, according to Koch.

President Montgomery emphasized that the IFT and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have long been champions of meaningful, measurable learning standards for students and are strong supporters of the Common Core Standards Illinois adopted last year. “Our union, going back to days of Al Shanker at the national level, has been talking about standards,” Montgomery said. “We’re really hopeful that this is the beginning of a much more explicit, rigorous and meaningful process about what kids should know and be able to do than we have seen at times in the past,” he added.

But Montgomery noted that for the new standards to truly be effective, it will be critical that teachers are given the necessary time and training to think through, discuss and implement them.

“We cannot rush this,” he said. Montgomery noted that in nations with high rates of academic success, teachers have as much as three hours per week to work together to discuss what works and to implement strategies to improve student learning and achievement.

“For these standards to work, teachers will need embedded professional development time like educators have in many other nations,” he said.

Illinois is scheduled to implement the Common Core Standards and all related assessments statewide by the 2014-15 school year.

“We need to work with the Illinois State Board of Education and our school districts across the state to take the time to collaborate and do this right,” he concluded.



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