Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why One Principal Thinks The Common Core Is Part Of An Equitable Education

Principal Angela Maxey is ready for the Common Core at Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School in Duval County.

Karelia Arauz / StateImpact Florida

Principal Angela Maxey is ready for the Common Core at Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School in Duval County.

Florida schools have just one more academic year to phase in a new set of education standards under the Common Core—and Principal Angela Maxey is ready.

“I’m truly a proponent for standards-based Common Core education. I’m passionate,” says Maxey, who works at Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School in Duval County.

Her school is a math, science and pre-engineering (STEM curriculum) magnet school where 90 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. For Maxey, the Common Core is about more than new benchmarks.

“Education, to me, levels the playing field,” says Maxey.

Maxey spoke with StateImpact Florida for part of our series on how educators feel about the Common Core. Here’s what she had to say: 

Q: How well prepared do you feel for the Common Core?

A: I think I’m prepared for the Common Core—as far as instructionally. There’s still more that I can learn. We went through some state training. I feel comfortable with it. But I think as an educator if I say I know it all, I would be lying. We’re always in a constant process of learning.

I think the key to having an understanding of what it is in [the school] is how to deliver it instructionally to the students. That’s the role my teachers play. And that’s where I need to make sure that I’m providing them the development that is embedded—to make sure that they’re doing and delivering the instruction appropriately.

Q: Do you think it’s an improvement?

A: Yeah, I like the Common Core.

I mean I’ll put it like this: It’s called the Common Core, but I still feel it’s standards-based instruction. I believe nationwide, state-to-state, we’re all going to have a baseline of where our children should be and where we want them to strive to be.

Q: How have the standards changed the way that you do your job?

A: I remember when we had PPOs, called “Pupil Progression Objectives.” Then we went to just having student objectives. Now we’re at the Common Core.

Again, it provides direction of where we should be heading instructionally. I think it gives us a big picture.

I’m originally from another state. The biggest thing is, if I’m in the state of Florida, I also know that children in another state are also learning this information. So it’s leveling the playing field and closing the achievement gap. No matter where you’re at, no matter what socioeconomic level you’re working on, no matter where you grew up… this is what every child at first grade should know no matter what.

So now we do not have, as an educator, an excuse for not educating all children the same way. I think that every child should have the right and the opportunity to a fair, equitable education.



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