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Common Core State Standards

Today, just 1 in 4 Illinois high school students graduate ready for college or a career. We must get serious about what kids need to learn to succeed.

That is what the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are designed to do. CCSS is a set of voluntary K-12 standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics developed by education experts, including members of the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and other education stakeholders. The Standards set clear expectations for what students should know and be able to do in key areas; reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics. Illinois is among 45 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted the Standards.

IFT’s Position
If implemented thoughtfully, with adequate supports and resources, IFT believes these new Standards will help improve education for all students.

In a 2013 Huffington Post column, "(Un)Common Sense on the Common Core", IFT President Dan Montgomery outlined the union’s support of the Standards, but cautioned against unfair consequences for both students and teachers if officials fail to “put the brakes on stakes.” Put simply, if educators and schools are not allowed the time and resources needed to properly implement the Standards before assessing their effectiveness, then the results shouldn’t count.

IFT members echoed Montgomery's words, responding to the union's 2013 survey about the CCSS awareness and preparedness. While 80 percent of the respondents said they are aware of their school or district's plan for CCSS implementation, just 51 percent rate their own readiness as "emerging" and nearly all respondents cite the need for more time for work, collaboration, professional development, and implementation related to CCSS.

The Council of the Great City Schools explains how the Common Core will help students achieve at high levels and help them learn what they need to know to get to graduation and beyond.

Peoria, IL teachers from PSD 150 describe what Common Core math looks like in the classroom.

The Hunt Institute describes the rationale for Common Core Standards and how the standards were developed.

Apply for AFT Innovation Grant funds by September 30

by Amy Excell | Sep 18, 2014
This AFT program offers financial support to teachers interested in becoming more involved with learning standards and their implementation.

If you're a teacher who wants to become more involved in working with learning standards and their implementation in your school or district, this union-sponsored program may be the perfect opportunity for you.

The AFT's "Teachers Leading on Standards" grant program provides financial resources to help members complete standards-related projects that they believe will have a meaningful, positive impact on the education environment.

Do you want to critique standards and the research behind them? How about offer feedback on the implementation of standards in your community? Or do you want to write new standards in a particular grade or subject? Learn more about the types of work that may be funded here.

Don't pass up the chance to put your ideas into action! Register online to view supporting documents and to apply for the grant. Applications must be submitted by September 30, 2014.


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