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Principal: 'Why I Once Liked Common Core, But Changed My Mind'

Principal: 'Why I Once Liked Common Core, But Changed My Mind'

Common Core State Standards and their use in schools throughout the country continue to be a large topic of debate among educators, parents, and administrators. 

The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss has started a series of letters between two "award-winning principals with differing views on the Core will write to each other [a concept that Education Week once used with Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier as the authors]," Strauss said.

According to Strauss the two principals are Carol Burris of New York, "who was once a strong Core supporter but underwent a change, and who has written posts published frequently on this blog." The other is Jayne Ellspermann of Florida.

"The new iteration is being undertaken by the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news Web site focused on inequality and innovation in education, and each piece will be published there first," Strauss wrote. "The Report’s editors as well as both principals have given me permission to republish each letter."

The first letter, Strauss said, is Carol Burris to Jayne Ellspermann:

When we spoke, you asked me how I went from being a strong supporter of the Common Core to becoming a critic of the standards. It was a long process and I gave it a lot of thought. It is not easy for me to shift my opinion on matters of importance, but after months of deliberation, there came a point when my conscience demanded that I publicly express my misgivings. I was originally attracted to the Common Core because of its promise to teach all students the skills, habits and knowledge needed to be successful in post-secondary education. Some of my students choose not to go to college or a trade school after graduation, but I want them to be empowered to make that choice. I am sure you hold a similar position about your students.

Burris said that as high school principals, they know " that the academic preparation that students have before they enter our schools matter."

"But we also know that the way our students feel about school, along with their confidence, resilience and a host of other socio-emotional factors, strongly influences their success as well," Burris wrote according to the article. "It is far easier for me to help a student catch up academically than it is to undo disaffection and alienation from being miserable at school."

Strauss soon will post Ellspermann's reply to Burris. Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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