Spokane teachers begin preparing for Common Core

Spokane teachers begin preparing for Common Core

SPOKANE, Wash. - Changes are coming for elementary students in the Spokane School District this year as the way they are taught language arts will be different.

The district is rolling out the 'Journey' program; it's a specifically designed way of teaching that prepares kids to meet the Common Core standard.

Wednesday at Roosevelt Elementary the hallways were filled with the sounds of cardboard boxes being opened. Teachers were given new books and materials for the upcoming school year.

"I haven't had any new curriculum in five years," teacher Deanna Bunch said. "Some of our curriculum has copyright dates of 1995."

Bunch says what teachers were using before to teach was a patchwork of different texts.

"What we were using before was kind of a pull from here pull from there using outdated curriculum sometimes," Bunch said.

She says the new program streamlines the learning processes.

"To have a straight forward guideline as to what we are suppose to do from September to May is amazing," Bunch said.

The program will not only be a different way of teaching for students but teachers as well. Roosevelt Principal Debbie Oakley says staff has been going through training and will continue that until the kids arrive in September.

"That's why all these people are here in the middle of July, well the end of July doing what they need to do to get prepared for students and doing the right thing for kids," Oakley said.

The Common Core standard has not come without controversy, some claim it's not what it's cracked up to be saying some texts change history and aren't accurate.

The standard is tied to President Obama's 'Race to the Top' funds, which are competitive grants awarded to states to encourage improvement in education.

Originally 45 states signed up, but some are backing away. Earlier this year Oklahoma and South Carolina passed legislation saying they're out because of the high cost and too much federal oversight.

Teachers in Spokane however say they're giving it a tray and want parents to come along with them.

"First and foremost just go to the teacher and say I'm not certain how to do this homework, I've never seen this before, can you show me how to do this," Bunch said.

The state of Washington has not won any 'Race to the Top' funding.