While many Western New York teachers and parents are protesting implementation of the Common Core learning standards, Cheektowaga Central representatives are learning to embrace them.
During its meeting Tuesday night, the Cheektowaga Board of Education learned that teachers are using the new learning standards’ modules to shape curriculum and encourage students to become stronger learners.
Angela Stockman, director of WNY Education Associates, has been consulting with Cheektowaga educators to develop and implement the district’s new English Language Arts curriculum. She told the board that the Common Core modules – the pieces of each grade’s curriculum that provide instructional resources and lessons for teachers and students – have been receiving a bad reputation in the media, adding they were designed and made available by the state Education Department in response to teachers’ requests for help in implementing the new standards.
“It’s a gift for teachers,” she said, adding that districts that demand teachers use the modules to the letter are acting irresponsibly. “It isn’t a mandated curriculum.”
To those who have criticized the modules as nothing more than scripts, Stockman responds that educators have been using scripts and other prepared programs for many years. Estimating that it would take a teacher about 20 professional development days to create an original curriculum, Stockman stressed that few districts have the resources to start from scratch. The modules are best used when they are modified by teachers to create lessons that meet their students’ needs, she said.
Stockman praised the Common Core as a program that aligns lessons across grades and provides educational scaffolding upon which students build new skills. She characterized the protests and marching against the new standards and modules as “misinformed snark.”
The board’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 in the board room at Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road. The meeting will be preceded by the 10th annual Community Involvement Awards and Wall of Fame presentations at 6:30 p.m.