Teachers and administrators have homework of their own, studying a net set of instructional guidelines and a fundamental shift of how they teach and test.
Proponents say the state standards, called Common Core, better match how students learn and better prepare them for college or work.
- Depth over Breadth - "With the old standards, kids are learning lots of little bits of information and then quickly forgetting them. Which means we didn't spend enough time learning them well."
- Problem-Solving - These new standards open "a new era in education." But while the bells and whistles will be strikingly new, the focus returns to getting students better at the basics and problem solving. "We've got to give them problems where there aren't easy answers."
- Close Reading - A focus on fine literature will shift to reading for information.
- Writing - Wording a cohesive argument will outweigh creative writing. "What we have now lacks great materials for writing, when we know that's the No. 1 predictor of student success,"
- Technology - All schools need enough computers and Internet bandwidth for classes to test online simultaneously. Paper tests "were appropriate for the times." But advances in artificial intelligence give far more options. "This is where technology is catching up with education."
- Districtwide retraining will be needed.
- Backward Design - "I think that process of beginning with the end in mind and working their way down is powerful,"
- College Professor - California State University, Stanislaus, math Professor Viji Sundar has studied the Common Core math guidelines and believes the changes will help more students be ready for her college courses. "I think it's wonderful, something that's very much needed," Sundar said. California now has dozens of math steps to be learned in every grade. "We need to focus more on certain things more deeply," she said. I really do believe that this has helped us step up our game. We need different skills for the 21st century."