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Challenging Standards

Navigating Conflict and Building Capacity in the Era of the Common Core

Jonathan A. Supovitz and James Spillane

The Common Core State Standards are at the center of the latest firestorm in American education reform. But this is not the nations first torrid experience with standards implementation. In Challenging Standards, Jonathan Supovitz and James Spillane bring together the collective knowledge of top education researchers who have both experienced and investigated education reform challenges in the past. Combining both evidence-based research and applied knowledge, the contributors share with educational leaders their accrued wisdom about implementing standards in classrooms and systems, building capacity through relationships, and navigating the fractious political terrain. Each section of the book contains a set of facilitative questions that will help leadership teams, book clubs, and professional learning communities connect the chapters to their work. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 208Size: 6 1/2 x 9 3/8
978-1-4758-1584-9 • Hardback • June 2015 • $63.00 • (£42.95)
978-1-4758-1585-6 • Paperback • June 2015 • $32.00 • (£22.95)
978-1-4758-1586-3 • eBook • June 2015 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
Jonathan A. Supovitz is the co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) and an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. His research examines the policy and leadership influences on the design and implementation of school improvement efforts.

James P. Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He is also professor of Human Development and Social Policy, professor of Learning Sciences, professor of Management and Organizations, and faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. His work explores the policy implementation process at the state, district, school, and classroom levels, focusing on intergovernmental and policy-practice relations.
Part I: Leading Standards Implementation in Schools and Systems
Section IntroJames Spillane
Chapter 1: Engaging with Standards-Jonathan Supovitz
Chapter 2:The Infrastructure and Conceptual Challenges of the Common Core
Curriculum State Standards: English Language Arts As A Case-Carol Lee

Chapter 3: Implementing the Common Core: How Individuals, Organizational Resources, and Instructional Practice Matter-John Diamond
Chapter 4: School-Subject Variation in Educational Infrastructures: A Cautionary Implementation Tale-James Spillane, Megan Hopkins
Part II: Leading Standards Implementation in Classrooms
Section Intro-Jonathan Supovitz
Chapter 5: Rewriting Myths about Curriculum Materials and Content Standards in Mathematics-Janine Remillard
Chapter 6: Overcoming the Challenges of Choosing Curriculum Materials: A Systematic Approach to Evaluating Common Core Alignment-Morgan Polikoff
Chapter 7: Fulfilling the Promise of Rigor for All-Emily Hodge
Chapter 8: Common Core in Uncommon Schools: Tools for Teacher Cohesion?-Bruce Fuller
Chapter 9: Collaborative Professional Development To Create Cognitively Demanding Tasks in English Language Arts-Vivian Mihalakis, Anthony Petrosky
Part III: Building System Capacity through Relationships
Section Intro-James Spillane
Chapter 10: Connections, Coherence, and Common Understanding in the Common Core-Thomas Hatch
Chapter 11: Intelligently Partnering for Common Core Implementation-Donald Peurach
Chapter 12: Contracting for Digital Education in the Common Core Era-Patricia Burch, Andrew L. LaFave, Annalee Good
Part IV: Navigating Politics
Section Intro
Chapter 13: Differences in Common: A Brief History of American Educational Standards-David Gamson
Chapter 14: Core Confusion: A Practitioner's Guide to Understanding Its Complicated Politics-Patrick McGuinn
Chapter 15: Implementation Politics and the Common Core-Katie McDermott
Chapter 16: A Window of Opportunity: The Politics and Policies of Common Core Implementation in California-Jennifer O’Day
Challenging Standards is a wonderful double entendre. Just as I was predicting that the CCSS would collapse under its own weight due to massive confusion along come Supovitz, Spillane and their colleagues to provide some pinpointed clarity. Its all here: the standards themselves, organizational matters, what should happen in the classroom, system capacity, the importance of relationships, and navigating politics. Dont go any further on the Common Core without reading this comprehensive guide to unpacking and implementing CCSS.
Michael Fullan, professor emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto

District leaders need smart thought partners as we navigate the constantly evolving standards-based reform environment. The contributors to Challenging Standards help by sharing important perspectives on the practical, political, and philosophical tensions surrounding Common Core implementation. This useful book will help frame district leaders’ thinking about key issues that inform the critical conversations that need to occur at every level of districts in order to focus educators on best ways to use standards to support improvements in teaching and learning.
Philip D. Lanoue, PhD, superintendent, Clarke County School District, Athens, Georgia, 2015 American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year

Implementing the new standards calls for a dedicated systems approach to redefining both the organizational structures and resource allocation that enable both students and professionals learning experiences. Supovitz and Spillane capture this challenge in a superb 360 degree panoramic look at CCSS implementation that must be operationalized at all levelsfrom the statehouses and district offices down to the schools. This book serves as a blueprint to shift from what we have traditionally expected from the public school experience to what our students need to compete on a global level. Their contributors explore CCSS in realistic terms, providing a strong link from theory to practice, in context and action, for leaders across the spectrum of public education.
Mark Shanoff, EdD, principal, Ocoee Middle School, An Apple Distinguished School, Ocoee, FL, president-elect, Florida Association of School Administrators, national distinguished principal, State of Florida

Wow, what a useful book! Every policymaker urgently needs this books concepts, comprehensive components, and detailed roadmap to help create successful implementation of Common Core in systems, schools and classrooms. Supovitz and Spillane have assembled a set of authors whose essays bring together a rare combination of evidenced-based research and effective practical applications that can be tailored to bring standards implementation to life in various school and district contexts.
Michael Kirst, president, California State Board of Education, professor emeritus, Stanford University