Most great movies have one memorable piece of dialogue that is long remembered. “You had me at hello” was just such a line in “Jerry Maguire.” But for me, on the topic of Common Core implementation, I’m reminded of Tom Hanks’ unforgettable rant in “A League of Their Own,” chastising Bitty Schram’s character with “There’s no crying in baseball!” Well, if there’s no crying in baseball, what shouldn’t there be when it comes to supporting teachers in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards? To me, there should be no hoarding or selfishly keeping what any organization believes is their “secret sauce.”
Consider the case of California. This state serves 6 million students with 300,000 teachers. There are 1,037 school districts with student enrollment, and in excess of 1,000 charter schools. In total, there are over 10,000 public schools in the Golden State, and teachers throughout are mildly optimistic about the implementation of Common Core. Their biggest concerns pertain to receiving quality professional development and having time to work with colleagues to grow their competence in the standards.
Recently, 14 high-quality technical assistance providers met in Lodi, California (yes, that’s right—think Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 hit). When they gathered, they realized the enormous challenges they face, and quickly came to the conclusion that these providers are serving a very small population of California’s 300,000 teachers. They also realized that each of these organizations possesses approaches and techniques that are attractive to many of the teachers they support. But “hiding their secret sauce” would do little for successful implementation. Did that mean they partnered? No, at the moment, that’s a bridge too far. But they did agree to share their practices and coordinate whenever possible. This has an enormous potential upside for the teachers and students in California, because it’s clear to me that the sum of these organizations is greater than their individual parts.
Congratulations to the following organizations for their willingness to open up their toolkits in the interests of teachers and students throughout the state. If you run into a representative from ConnectED, Pivot Learning Partners, the California Teachers Association, EdLeader21, Learning Forward, the Sacramento County Office of Education, CORE, WestEd, the Riverside County Office of Education, the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative, the New Teacher Center, Abeo School Change, the California Writing Project, or the California Reading and Literature Project, give them a round of applause and a merit badge for “sharing.”