Get the politics and rhetoric out of the conversation over the state's Common Core education standards.
That's the message from one area Superintendent of Schools. Matt Cole of Livonia says it's clear in the classroom that meaningful learning is occurring. "I worry about some of the media dialog, some of the social media dialog, some of the political rhetoric stealing the chance for kids to get better."
Cole worries the conversation is getting away from the people who know education best: professionals like teachers and principals. "They're the ones that work with the expectations the Common Core sets forth. They're the ones that work with our students. They know them the best. I think the solutions for any of the implementation challenges that we're experiencing best come from those sources, as opposed to some of the public dialogue and discourse that I certainly have been seeing."
Cole admits some frustration with implementation of the Common Core standards, but says he sees examples every day of successes. "The conversation in our district in particular has changed tremendously from early in September - when we were focused a bit more on the challenges. Today, we are definitely focusing more on successes. That comes from the teachers, parents and the kids. I wanted to make sure that part of our conversation on the Common Core standards has their perspective in it."
Superintendent Cole believes the state is headed in the right direction, saying the standards and the expectations of the Common Core are rich. He feels they are meaningful and will help students get to the next level more quickly. "That doesn't mean that there isn't implementation issues. That doesn't mean that some of the legislation that's been passed around teacher evaluations - and other non-common core-related issues is certainly driving some of the fears and anxiety and some of the rhetoric that's coming out."
Cole predicts the Common Core standards will stand the test of time, and should.