There are two major components in the common core math standards, mathematical practices and content standards. The mathematical practices describe a variety of expertises desired of students in demonstrating and using math knowledge. In my mind, this is the major shift in the new math standards and poses the greatest challenge to implementation. Just because the standards clearly describe the mathematical practices does not mean teachers will interpret, problem-solve, and adjust instruction to incorporate the strategies. Research-based professional learning activities are not the tradition one-time fare. Instead the focus seeks to take new learning and then be supported by coaching, instructional rounds, lesson studies, and other active learning activities.
I maintain that the likelihood of assimilation into the classroom begins with surfacing the values of the staff. The level of fidelity to the common core math standards relies on clarifying values (what’s important to us) to help establish the purpose and function of the changes. Surfacing shared values provides the basis for constructive working relationships to participate in the active learning components of professional learning.