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Teacher Testimony: Why I Support the Common Core Standards

On March 20, North Carolina high school teachers Nancy Gardner and Rod Powell testified before a legislative committee about how their students benefit from the Common Core State Standards.

My name is Rod Powell, and I’m in my 26th year of teaching.  I have been National Board certified since 2004. I teach social studies at Mooresville High School in Mooresville, North Carolina. I'm also a teacher leader who works closely with the Center for Teaching Quality.

The classroom experience has changed a great deal for me and my students since my first position at West Lincoln High School in 1988.  Not all of these changes have been for the better.

But some of the changes have been terrific—like the introduction of the Common Core State Standards into my daily practice. Now, I'm not here to talk about standardized testing (which I question the value of), or the politicizing of the Common Core (which has disturbed me greatly). 

What I AM here to do is speak of the re-energizing effect the Common Core State Standards have had on me and the classroom experiences of my students.

I wish I had more time to describe the shift in my lesson planning—how the Common Core has made me a better teacher by challenging me to create meaningful and authentic learning experiences for my students.

I wish I more time to tell you about Riveira—a struggling high school junior who led a seminar last spring using diaries, memorandums, and diplomatic letters examining the relationship between Fidel Castro, John Kennedy, and Nikita Krushchev during the Cuban missile crisis.

I wish I had more time to tell you about Ravi— an academically gifted student who began my class this semester coasting: relying on years of test-taking experience to pass classes.  He now is challenged daily with Common Core critical reading, speaking, and writing activities in my class.

I wish I had more time to tell you about my experiences with the Center for Teaching Quality and the virtual collaboration with teachers across the nation that takes place there about the Common Core.

The Common Core standards describe the things a modern student should be able to do. They also let me use my professional wisdom and judgment to make those things happen. I have more confidence than ever that I'm helping my students get ready for the 21st-century careers ahead of them.

Read Part Two--NC teacher Nancy Gardner's testimony--here.


Tricia Ebner commented on March 23, 2014 at 5:42pm:


My experiences in the implementation process of CCSS have been similar to yours, and "re-energize" is a great work to describe it. I'm seeing it in my students more and more, too. Now, instead of asking me, "What writing genre is our next focus," they're asking me questions like, "What issues will be explore next quarter?"

Anne Keith commented on March 24, 2014 at 5:36pm:

I agree as well

I work with a 30 year veteran teacher. After her 3rd grader's "Invention Convention", culminating a unit on inventions and inventors, she told me she's not thinking about retirement anymore. She said, "THIS is the kind of teaching I signed up for!" Now if we can spread the word about the REJUVENATION in teaching CCSS is spawning to counter all the anti-CCSS rhetoric....


BTW- "part 2" will not open...

Lauren Stephenson commented on March 25, 2014 at 2:42pm:

Part Two fixed!

The link to Nancy Garnder's testimony now works. :)

Jessica Cuthbertson commented on March 25, 2014 at 10:11pm:

Thanks, Rod!

Well said and I love the specific student examples -- these are the stories that a broad audience of stakeholders needs to hear :). Cheering for you and with you as a fellow Core Advocate here in Colorado! 

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