As Common Core Shifts Teaching Priorities, Some Warn Of Parental Pushback

Geometry teachers from Rutherford and Wilson County are among the hundreds meeting at Blackman High in Murfreesboro this week to discuss Common Core. Credit Daniel Potter / WPLN

Geometry teachers from Rutherford and Wilson County are among the hundreds meeting at Blackman High in Murfreesboro this week to discuss Common Core. Credit Daniel Potter / WPLN

Tennessee has started a massive effort to train some 30,000 teachers this summer on new standards. It’s part of the shift to the Common Core curriculum most states are making. With classes underway this week for math teachers, some warn the new style will attract phone calls from parents.

Instead of showing a kid a problem and giving the right answer, Common Core wants students to think about how they would solve it. In other words, the goal is understanding concepts, with less “chalk and talk” from teachers, as one put it.

Kira Luckett teaches geometry in Murfreesboro. Luckett says she’s experimented with a more hands-off approach. She cautions administrators need to be ready to hear from parents.

“Because I’m telling you, if the phone’s ringing, ‘Get my kid out of this class because they’re not being taught anything…’ You know, everybody’s got to be on board with it. It was probably the most stressful year of teaching I had.”

Skeptics of Common Core range from those who say it isn’t rigorous enough to those who fear it “nationalizes” Tennessee’s schools. Asked whether the training includes how to handle that kind of pushback, a state official doubted it would do much good.


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