Funding concerns and inadequate guidance from state officials are two key reasons that the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards in public school districts across the country is going slow this school year, according to a new survey by the nonprofit Center on Education Policy.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and math are an attempt to standardize across what students learn from kindergarten through 12th grade, and have been a big part of the Obama administration education reform platform.

Though not mandated, states were encouraged by the administration to adopt them, and, so far, 44 states and the District of Columbia have adopted them.The standards were released in June 2010 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Supporters say the standards will help ensure that high school graduates have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and the work. Critics have attacked the standards over a number of issues, including concern that they will lead to more standardized testing, that some of the standards for young children are too rigid, and that the standards don’t give teachers enough leeway to help students who aren’t on grade level in reading and math.

When the standards were released, educators expressed concern that without equitable resources for new educational materials and teacher training, the effort wouldn’t amount to much. The survey by the independent Center on Education Policy bears out lingering concerns about funding as well as other issues.

Among the survey’s findings are:

* Seventy-six percent of districts in states that adopted the standards report that adequate funding for implementing all aspects of the CCSS is a major challenge.

* About two-thirds of the districts in adopting states cited inadequate or unclear state guidance on the Common Core State Standards as a major challenge.

* Only 29 percent of the districts in states that adopted the standards have assigned or plan to assign resource teachers to help teachers integrate the CCSS into their classroom instruction in math and English language arts.

* Fewer than one-third of the districts in CCSS-adopting states have changed or plan to change their educator induction or teacher evaluation systems to make them more consistent with the CCSS.

* Forty-seven percent of districts in the adopting states cited inadequate curriculum materials to support integration of the CCSS in classroom instruction as a major challenge.

* Less than half of the districts in CCSS-adopting states have developed or plan to develop new local assessments to measure student mastery of these standards.

Other findings include:

* Almost three-fifths of the districts in states that have adopted the standards view them as more rigorous than the ones they are replacing and expect student learning to improve as a result of implementation.

* Two-thirds of the districts in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards have begun to develop a comprehensive plan and timeline for implementing the standards or intend to do so in school year 2011-12. And 61 percent of the districts are developing and/or purchasing curriculum materials.


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