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AFT Gives Grants to States to Revise Common Core Standards

AFT Gives Grants To States To Revise Common Core Standards

The American Federation of Teachers is helping states to revise their Common Core standards. 

The AFT has "awarded grants to its affiliates in New York and Connecticut to review, and where necessary, rewrite the standards," said a blog post on DianeRavitch.net. Ravitchs' blog is a site that discusses "better education for all."

Ravitch shared the American Federation of Teachers announcement about the grant on her blog.

"The American Federation of Teachers announced today it has awarded AFT Innovation Fund grants for teachers in New York and Connecticut to offer solutions to problems with their state’s rollout of the Common Core State Standards," the release said.

“These grants are about giving educators some seed money to take their ideas about educational standards and convert them into practice. Many educators support higher standards but are concerned about particular aspects, especially the Common Core standards’ poor implementation and their developmental appropriateness, particularly in the early grades,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We wanted to give the people closest to children a chance to do something different, as long as we were all focused on how to help students secure the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that the Common Core standards are supposed to be about.”

Weingarten said the grant applicants "had wide latitude, including critiquing the Common Core standards or writing new ones. It’s significant that the judges thought the best ideas primarily involved finding better ways to make the standards work for teachers and students."

"NYSUT will use its six-month, $30,000 grant to make recommendations to address the state’s botched implementation of both the Common Core State Standards and assessments," said the release. "A union task force will review and critique the state’s math and English language arts curriculum materials, developed by outside vendors, which have received a torrent of critical comments from teachers. These materials are seen as developmentally inappropriate, too prescriptive, and frequently riddled with errors and inconsistencies."

"Given the profound problems with the state’s materials used for the initial Common Core rollout—units that weren’t developed with educators—we’re anxious to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a critique aimed at improving the materials and making sure they are developmentally appropriate for students,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee.

AFT Connecticut, the release said, "will address the unmet need for developmentally appropriate instructional strategies for students in the primary grades. The union’s working group will also make recommendations for teachers on how to help students with special needs and students with disabilities reach the standards."

“Teachers have not had enough time to fully understand the standards and develop curriculum, and it’s been especially difficult for teachers with special education students and English language learners,” said AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters.

Both of the grants, the release said, "also support the AFT’s July 2014 resolution on the Common Core State Standards, 'The Role of Standards in Public Education.'”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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