Instructional Leadership in Action

An Interview with Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn

by UWCEL on Oct 28, 2011

Randy_DornRandy Dorn was elected superintendent of public instruction for Washington state in 2008. On July 20, 2011, Washington became the 44th state, in addition to one territory and the District of Columbia, to adopt the Common Core State Standards.

1. What will the standards mean for improving education in Washington? 

The Common Core math and English-language arts standards are closely aligned with our own state standards. We are pleased with that. A big part of Common Core’s true value is that our teachers will see textbooks and materials better aligned to curriculum, and students coming to our state from another state will hopefully be able to transition in easier because they’ll be learning the same things.

2. What approaches is Washington taking to ensure that traditionally underserved students are supported in the transition to the new standards? 

Our efforts to serve underserved populations are not affected by the implementation of Common Core.

3. How is Washington working to adapt its assessment systems? 

Washington is a lead state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium ( We likely will be adopting their assessments, beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

4. What do you foresee as the biggest challenges facing districts and schools in implementing the standards?

We need to work to provide solid professional development to our teachers. We also need to let people know that we are not starting over with Common Core. The new standards will build on our already strong learning standards.

5. What advice would you offer school districts to help support the process of implementing the standards? 

Get on board early. Our agency is working hard to provide information and supports to school districts regarding the implementation of Common Core. You can learn more by visiting:

Topics: Common Core

About the author: UWCEL

At the Center for Educational Leadership we partner with courageous leaders in classrooms, schools and the systems that support them to eliminate educational inequities by creating cultures of rigorous teaching, learning and leading. Our vision is transformed schools empowering all students regardless of background to create limitless futures for themselves, their families, their communities, and the world.

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