School districts transition to Common Core

Published February 2011 Voice

Pennsylvania joined a majority of the states last year in adopting the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which PSEA supported.

Under State Board of Education regulations, school districts are to complete the transition to Common Core for the 2013-14 school year. Some school districts have begun working toward making that transition, while others have not. Regardless of the rate of adoption, each school district is responsible for creating instructional redesign cycles and modifying curricula to meet the Common Core standards for ELA and math.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, charged with carrying out this transition, recently completed an analysis of how to align the Pennsylvania Academic Standards with Common Core. However, PSEA envisions that school districts will encounter significant challenges with implementing Common Core, because educators are, in a real sense, being asked to rebuild the plane while flying it. Key among these challenges are alignment, assessment, implementation sequencing, cost, and professional support.

Currently, the department is conducting ongoing professional development to assist school districts in creating transition plans for Common Core, and districts are to continue to base instruction and curriculum on the state Academic Standards.

PSEA will continue to monitor the transition to Common Core and advocate for thoughtful, sequenced implementation. Educators can obtain additional information and resources about Common Core through the department’s Standards Aligned System website at



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