Teacher leaders will be critical to the successful implementation of Common Core Standards (CCS).
Teacher leaders are most often the missing piece of education reform.
"Neither students nor teachers are served by a structure that treats some teachers like interchangeable cogs in a machine.
As states begin to blend CCS with their own standards, district administration may be ready to move ahead without teacher input. They realize teachers have no choice in whether to implement.
How not What
But the choice isn't to implement or not to implement; the choice is in how to implement.
With a strong base of teacher leaders in place and leading the effort, other teachers will find inspiration and success.
Time and again, top-down implementation stalls as teachers fail to hear workable plans that reflect the realities of their classrooms.
With the implementation of CSS, educators and administrators have a chance to find a better model for rolling out widespread change.
Teachers Trust Other Teachers
According to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, more than 90 percent of teachers believe that other teachers contribute to their success.
Teacher leaders can help build a climate that draws on their colleagues' expertise and wisdom to improve the CSS implementation.
Teacher-designed and teacher-defined professional development is the other critical element in aligning CCS.
"Accountability Demands Involvement"
Critical to a successful launch of CSS in schools is establishing credibility for that change.
Teachers are often wary of anything they had no part in creating. This attitude is even more pronounced toward CSS, since the standards come from a political movement started by governors to "fix" education.
There is no force that is more adaptable, nimble, or capable of calling to action every one of the 3.2 million classroom teachers than genuine teacher leaders. These are leaders who work in classrooms every day. They have lived through NCLB and can apply the best and worst of that initiative. They have the respect of their peers, and can therefore call into action the legions of teachers who simply want to make tomorrow better for their 49.4 million students.
Patrick Ledesma is a National Board-certified teacher and School Based Technology Specialist in Fairfax, Virginia, where he focuses on instructional-technology integration and special education at the middle school level.