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Common Core: Is it working ?

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LOUISIANA -

In class rooms across the U.S., students are learning everything from French, to chemistry, to math but compared to other countries, the United States ranks 17th in the world for education according to a global report by the education firm Pearson.

Finland and South Korea top the list of 40 developed countries with the best education system.

Sheena Hervey of Generation Ready says, "The world has changed dramatically and one of the challenges that has always plagued the United States is that each state has set its own standards.  But most children move from state to state to state, and the closer we can get to having one standard set of standards, the greater it is going to be for kids."

Hervey says that is the goal of Common Core. She was part of the implementation of the curriculum in New York three years ago.

"I'm in and out of classrooms everyday and I see very talented people doing tremendous things against all odds but I also see things that aren't so good," says Hervey.

Hervey works across the country helping teachers adjust to the new curriculum, a curriculum that is more in line with standards followed by countries that out rank the U.S. when it comes to education.

"We are finding that kids are able to give evidence supporting their answers and their writing is getting deeper with very little change in teaching," according to Hervey.

Hervey says the problem with common core is that most states that adopted the program, did so without providing teachers with the proper tools needed to teach more advanced skills.  For example, last year when Louisiana adopted the program, teachers were only given about two weeks to prepare before the start of the school year.

"What we as teachers need to do differently is learn what we need to do differently and that means learning what the standards are at our grade level," says Peggy Brookins, who is with the American Federation of Teachers.

Recently the union took up the issue of common core.

"We gave the test but then I asked a principal ‘how did I do' and the principal said ‘we don't do that' so there is no meaningful look at the results of our teaching," argues teacher Teresa Fedor.

Hervey and others feel that unless every state gets completely on board with common core the curriculum and its expectations will never fully be allowed to work and states will move on to another set of curriculum standards for teachers to adjust to.

Fedor says that will be devastating to teachers that are already "reformed fatigued."

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