A Path Forward

Recommendations From the Classroom for Effectively Implementing the Common Core

March 2014

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The roll-out of the Common Core State Standards in New York City has been difficult for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that our city has the largest school district in the country. Making such a monumental shift in teaching and learning is naturally a challenge for the more than one million students and 78,000 teachers in our district. Teachers have  often felt overwhelmed and do not know where to find resources. We direct our recommendations to schools, as well as the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE).

By improving communication, equipping parents, teachers and students with the resources they need, and improving assessment and evaluation, we will go a long way toward addressing concerns regarding these new standards.


  • Improve communication and resources by offering teachers quickly digestible resources on where to find support and high-quality Common Core–aligned lessons.

  • Communicate the value of the Common Core to parents, as well as how parents can help their children complete Common Core– aligned work.

  • Communicate to teachers how they will be evaluated, ensuring teachers’ student growth scores are based on subjects and students they actually teach.

  • Ensure that curricula are independently audited for alignment, with a particular focus on curricular differentiation for students with special needs.

  • Independently audit Common Core-aligned state tests to ensure quality.

  • Communicate to principals and teachers that excessive teaching to the test will not increase student test scores – and may even hinder them.

About the Teacher Action Team

Our team of eight diverse teachers met over several weeks to review research on Common Core implementation. We considered evidence from different perspectives, looked at how other states have implemented Common Core, held small and large group discussions and spoke to experts in the field to develop our New York-specific policy recommendations.

Nina Barraclough 2nd-grade Teacher at P.S. 396

Cole Farnum Mathematics Teacher at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School

Michael Loeb Special Education Teacher at Urban Institute of Mathematics

Tamera Musiowsky-Borneman 3rd-grade Teacher at ICT P.S. 208

Rob O’Leary English Teacher at the High School for Law and Public Service

Keith Scalia English Teacher at John Adams High School

Courtney Summer English Teacher at M.S. 223

Ruth Thomas 4th-grade Teacher at P.S. 102