California is one of 45 states switching to the new federal educational benchmarks in English and math known as Common Core Standards. The changes are scheduled for the 2014-15 school year, and implementing them is expected to cost the state over $1 billion. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson kicked off a “Common Core Summer” of training for teachers, but a Gates Foundation poll last year found that 27 percent of teachers nationwide felt unprepared to teach the new standards. Also, critics say tougher standards don’t necessarily equal better outcomes, and might even create more difficulties for English Language Learner students. We discuss how the state’s Common Core Standards will affect students and schools.
Tom Torlakson, state superintendent for public instruction; and former member of the CA State Assembly for the 11th District
Jill Tucker, education writer for the San Francisco Chronicle
Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based educational policy and advocacy organization focused on low-income and minority students
Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
David B. Cohen, Associate Director of Accomplished California Teachers; English teacher at Palo Alto High School
Alice Mercer, 6th grade teacher at Bancroft Elementary School in Sacramento