Teachers Want More Time to Prepare for Common Core, Survey Finds

While most teachers support the Common Core State Standards, teachers acknowledge there are challenges around implementation of the standards, with a large majority saying they need more time to find materials and prepare lessons, a report from Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finds.

Based on a survey of more than twenty thousand math, English language arts, science, and social studies teachers, the report, Primary Sources: America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change (216 pages, PDF), found that the percentage of teachers who believe the new standards will improve the quality of the education their students receive increases as implementation of the standards progresses. According to the survey, 73 percent of teachers at schools where implementation is complete said the standards would have a positive impact, compared with 56 percent at schools in the early stages of implementation and 40 percent at schools where implementation has not begun. And while the percentage of teachers who felt prepared to teach Common Core curricula rose 16 percentage points from 2011, to 75 percent, 76 percent said they needed more time to find materials and prepare lesson plans, and 71 percent wanted more quality professional development.

The report also found that 78 percent of survey respondents found teacher evaluations "somewhat" (49 percent), "very" (21 percent), or "extremely" (8 percent) helpful. Of the respondents who didn't find evaluations to be "very" or "extremely" helpful, 42 percent wanted more feedback, 30 percent wanted a fairer evaluation process, and 23 percent wanted better-qualified evaluators and observers.

In addition, while many respondents said that finding time to collaborate with colleagues is a challenge, 91 percent of respondents reported using Web sites to find or share lesson plans, 65 percent used the Web to get professional advice and support, and 57 percent used it to work with teachers with whom they otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to collaborate. Nearly all teachers said the best thing parents can do to help their child succeed in school is to avoid absences (98 percent), set high expectations (97 percent), and work in partnership with teachers when their child has challenges (97 percent).

"Throughout Primary Sources, we see that many of the anxieties teachers have today come from a place of concern for the diverse students who populate their classrooms and how best to provide a quality education for each one," said Scholastic Education president Margery Mayer. "We must listen to our teachers and provide them with the quality resources and professional development they need to raise the bar for their students and, at the same time, raise the floor for their students who are struggling."