Conceptions of Equity in Common Core Policy Messages in a Metropolitan District

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This study examines how a large metropolitan district presented the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to its teachers, how secondary literacy teachers took up those messages, and the conceptions of equity that were represented at the district and teacher levels. This study draws on sensemaking theory and conceptions of equity in conjunction with qualitative case study methods. Data include interviews with 24 individuals involved in middle school literacy instruction at the school and district levels and documents related to curriculum and professional development. Findings indicate that CCSS trainings at the district level had some reference to equity, defined as treating students the same way (for example, exposing “all students” to complex texts). Teachers expressed similar, though limited, policy messages around the importance of providing equal instructional treatment. This study suggests that district leaders consider available conceptions of equity in messages around reform for meaningful improvement of educational opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Common Core State Standards
  • equity
  • literacy
  • school districts


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