Mass. Teachers: “The more we learn about Common Core, the more we support it.”

Mass. Teachers: “The more we learn about Common Core, the more we support it.”

Based on teacher survey, Teach Plus Greater Boston and Mass. Teachers Association team up to provide teacher-led Common Core training
BOSTON – A new report from Teach Plus Greater Boston reveals that Massachusetts teachers who have received training on the Common Core State Standards show higher levels of support and enthusiasm for the standards than those who have not.

The report, written by high-performing Greater Boston teachers who are part of the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship, is based on a survey conducted jointly by Teach Plus and the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Nearly 3,000 Bay State teachers responded to the survey, which asked them to indicate their attitudes toward the Common Core and the amount of training and support they had received, and what factors they believe would make for a successful roll-out statewide.

While teachers who had received formal Common Core training reported greater enthusiasm than those who had not, nearly 50 percent of the respondents said that they so far received no training at all on how to implement the standards.

“The data could not be clearer: the more teachers know about the Common Core, the more they support it. But far too many of them are not getting the training they need,” says Lindsay Sobel, Teach Plus Greater Boston Executive Director. “The most meaningful training will come from fellow teachers with real-world experience helping their students master the Common Core.”

Moreover, the Teaching Policy Fellows argue in their report that the Common Core represents a valuable opportunity for teacher leadership in the Bay State.

“It’s crucial that teachers who are new to the Common Core have formal opportunities to learn from teachers who are experienced with it,” said Nick Lippman, a math teacher at Malden High School, and one of the Teaching Policy Fellows who co-authored the report. “We are each other’s best resource.”

In response to this recommendation, Teach Plus Greater Boston and the Massachusetts Teachers Association are partnering to launch the MTA Core Collaborative, a new program that will offer semester-long professional development on the Common Core, led by teachers who are experienced with the standards and getting results with students.

“Teachers need to be fully involved in the roll out of the Common Core standards,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “They know better than anyone else what their students need to succeed and they must be the voice of the profession.”

The MTA Core Collaborative is an extension of Teach Plus’ Common Core conferences, which took place in six cities over the past several months and reached nearly 5,000 teachers nationwide. The day-long conferences, including one here in Boston in September, offered professional development workshops led by teachers who are already experienced in the Common Core. The Core Collaborative is currently launching in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as Boston.

Of Teach Plus’ efforts to leverage teachers as leaders in the implementation of the Common Core, Teach Plus CEO Celine Coggins says, “No one knows better how to make these rigorous standards work well than the teachers who are already doing it. But we don’t want to see great teachers taken out of their classrooms to be full-time coaches and mentors. Instead, it’s important to build opportunities where teacher leaders can support each other in integrating these standards into their classrooms.”

Teach Plus is a national non-profit based in Boston whose mission is to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of reform: Teaching Policy Fellows, the Teach Plus Network, and T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in national, state, and district policy. Teach Plus began with 16 founding teachers from urban district and charter schools in Greater Boston. Since its inception as a non-profit in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 14,000 solutions-oriented teachers in six major cities across the country.

Massachusetts Teachers Association is a 110,000-member organization representing educators in the state’s preK-12 public schools and public higher education system. The MTA is the state affiliate of the National Education Association. A member-driven organization, the MTA advocates on behalf of educators throughout the state and supports high-quality public schools and public higher education.