AFT: 3 in 4 Teachers Unprepared for Common Core Standards

Teachers are unprepared for the imminent adoption of Common Core Standards, a new poll by the American Federation of Teachers finds.

One of the largest teachers unions in the country published a poll of 800 teachers last week which showed that many are not getting the training they need to be able to teach math and reading with the new standards demanded by the Common Core.

Teachers expressed concerns despite the fact that an overwhelming majority – 3 in 4 – support their adoption.

According to The Washington Post, many states have already begun the process of putting Common Core into place with the completion date estimated to be the 2014 academic year when the first students will take standardized exams based on the new curricula. Some states are not waiting until then; New York and Kentucky have already administered CCS-compliant exams to their students.

In New York, teachers, parents and students complained that the tests were poorly designed, covered material that had not been taught and frustrated children to the point of tears. Like many other states, New York intends to use the test results in decisions about student grade promotion, teacher job evaluations and school closings.

The AFT survey found the percentage of teachers who were either very or fairly worried about not meeting the standards set by Common Core was almost equal to the number of teachers who approved of the adoption. Seventy-four percent expressed either moderate or extreme concern that the standards would go into effect – and that schools, students and teachers would be held accountable for the academic outcomes – before sufficient training had been provided.

The poll was conducted over the telephone between March 27th and 30th, and includes answers from 405 primary schools teachers and 358 secondary school teachers from around the country.

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Tuesday called for a moratorium on consequences for at least one year until teachers and students across the country are sufficiently steeped in the Common Core standards. Among the teachers polled, 83 percent supported the moratorium. The poll was conducted in March and included teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Weingarten, a supporter of the Common Core, said sloppy implementation threatens to turn the new standards into another failed education reform. "The last thing we need is for teachers and the public to lose confidence in something that can actually transform teaching and learning," she said. "We've got to get it right."

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