Thousands of Teachers Become Students To Implement Reform
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - This summer more than 30,000 teachers are becoming students. They're learning about controversial state standards that will shift how teachers do their jobs.
In a test taking culture, just getting the right answer is no longer enough.
"Right now in Tennessee we're graduating a lot of people," Sharon Cooksey with the Tennessee Core Leadership Council said. "But according to the national records...they are not progressing. They can't compete with other students."
That's why teachers across the state are going back to class.
"We're asking students to think and problem solve in much deeper ways," Cooksey said. "So teachers are really having to work with their questioning skills."
Teachers are learning how to implement Tennessee's new Common Core standards that are being applied to English language arts, reading and math classes. It's a shift aimed at setting the bar higher by establishing uniformity in what students are learning across the state and the country.
"I know that how I was taught math was more about finding the solution and can you prove that solution," KIPP Nashville 5th grade teacher Warren Hawkins explained. "Now it's talking about how did you get that answer? Can you explain to others how you get that answer?"
Common core is not about changing the right answers, but making sure students understand how to find them. While the standards are set, teachers will have some flexibility in how they're met.
"It's really still the teacher's methods and the teachers way of teaching are at the top of what's going on here," Joseph Whinery, ESL Supervisor Williamson County Schools said.
It's yet another change headed to the classroom; all in the name of reform.
The training comes at the same time a report is released by the National Council on Teacher Quality that says the nation's teacher-training programs do not adequately prepare would-be educators for the classroom.
Out of the more than 1,000 programs surveyed, Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University were among only four programs that received four stars.
For more information about Tennessee's Common Core: http://www.tncore.org/