Today there is growing agreement that literacy is at the center of all learning. Expectations for what it means to be literate are rising, and all educators must play a role in helping students meet these expectations. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), recently adopted by forty-six states and the District of Columbia, require the more complex literacy skills that all of today’s students need to be college and career ready. With new standards in place, attention is now turning to how states, districts, and schools are organised to implement them. Given the changes that all schools will need to make, hearing directly from teachers at the grassroots level about how they are learning and working together to make the standards a reality in their classrooms is more important than ever before.
To that end, NCLE conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,400 educators of all roles, grade levels, and subject areas to find out where the USA stands as a nation in the following areas:
• How do various kinds of educators see their role in supporting literacy learning?
• What kinds of training and resources do they have to carry out that role, and what do they find most useful?
• To what extent are schools structured to allow educators to work together to elevate literacy learning?
• What building blocks for professional collaboration are already in place?
• What supports are needed to make professional collaboration effective in improving student learning?
Making sure that the USA has a workforce that is well prepared with the literacy skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow is no small task. For individual teachers, who currently spend almost all of their time working alone in their classrooms, it can seem overwhelming. But collectively, the efforts that US educators are making could be much more powerful. It just makes sense to work together—for educators to pool their skills, resources, and expertise to meet this challenge. For this to happen, however, some of the basic structures of schools—how they use their time and human capital—may need to be remodeled. We use the metaphor of “remodeling” throughout this report because we believe that while the infrastructure of US schools is sound, some changes are needed to make the design of schools more modern and efficient, tosuit the way we live and learn today.