Many K-12 schools are worried about meeting the requirements of new Common Core State Standards. The schools are in need of adequate IT infrastructures to successfully meet the standards, and both implementation and cost present serious challenges to districts.
According to Debra Donston-Miller of Information Week, schools are struggling to implement new standards as they need more and updated IT resources. Schools and districts have found it difficult to meet standards faithfully using out of date technology and skills.
The Common Core State Standards, crafted by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), is a set of curricular standards for English and math meant to standardize and streamline education nationwide. Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards — but there remains a gap between the technology schools need and the technology they have.
The Common Core State Standards, say its proponents, are the first step in providing young people with a high-quality education. Teachers, parents and community leaders have all weighed in to help create the Common Core State Standards, according to Corestandards.org, yet several states have begun to question Common Core's value and its benefit relative to costs.
But for states still fully committed to Common Core, there is a growing realization that schools may not have the required technology, knowledge and training to implement the curriculum effectively.
"There are two different discussions that need to take place when it comes to Common Core. One is on instruction and the other is on testing and assessments," said Ernie Delgado, founder and co-CEO of Beyond Technology Education, an organization focused on training teachers and students to properly use technology. "They will be requiring laptops and tablets that, for example, need to have a certain screen size. And they have to be able to use a browser with certain security features. If you really want to be in compliance for the assessment aspect, you have to look at these kinds of minimums."
According to a recent CDW-G's survey, ed tech leaders are showing support for Common Core standards, but they mentioned some concerns that could affect their ability to meet the standards' technology requirements, according to eSchool News.
About 62% of leaders said they need better IT infrastructure to support online testing. Their main concerns include lack of budget and lack of IT staff.
"There is a great deal of excitement around the Common Core and the potential it holds for students and educators to measurably improve education," said Julie Smith, vice president of K-12 education at CDW-G. "[But] our conversations with our customers—and the report's findings—tell us that from an IT perspective, districts are still working hard so that they can support the Common Core with the appropriate technology and be ready for the 2014-15 online assessment mandate."