Don’t be afraid to ask…

Advice for where to ask--and find answers--to your education questions

The most-trusted experts gain trust by expressing uncertainty, voicing questions, and increasing their knowledge based on what they learn. That is why we, as educators, encourage our students to ask questions each day, reminding them that there are no “dumb questions” and that their questions can help further the learning of the whole class. Do we follow our own advice, though?

Have we ever questioned the veracity of a claim, been confused by a concept, or felt uncertain about how to address a classroom challenge, but were too intimidated to speak up or ask for help? Of course we have.

We want to foster a culture that celebrates question-asking. It’s how we all learn! We’ve collected some resources and tools that are designed specifically to answer real questions and address real challenges within education through practical solutions. Teaching is challenging work, and no one should be expected to have all the answers. Here are some of our favorite resources to help you ask important questions and receive thoughtful answers:


  • The EdReports Network – The network of content reviewers is a community of educators from across the country making a difference nationwide by sharing their expertise about high-quality instructional materials. Looking to build your knowledge of materials alignment? Becoming a reviewer is a great learning opportunity! Apply to join the EdReports network today!
  • Making the Most of your Math and ELA Materials –  Learn more about the instructional materials in your classroom. Recently developed math and ELA resources help you to use EdReports reviews to analyze how well your materials align to standards and what adjustments you may need to consider to ensure that all students have access to the curricula they deserve.
  • Navigating the Materials Adoption Process – Is your district adopting new materials this year? You don’t have to tackle such an important decision on your own! Consider these 8 steps as you approach your adoption process to ensure that your district chooses the best curricula to meet your students’ needs.

Achieve the Core

  • The Core Advocate Network – This nationwide network of educators is committed to improving education in the United States through standards-aligned instruction. Whether they’re engaging in professional learning at the national level, working together to address a district-wide challenge, or offering personal advice to a fellow educator, Core Advocates are a welcoming, respectful, and inquisitive group. Check out #CoreAdvocates on Twitter to join the conversation.
  • The Beyond the Lesson Guides – Available for math and ELA, these sets of questions can foster a powerful planning discussion that looks at the impact of instructional choices, including instructional materials, on achieving your goals in the classroom.
  • Instructional Practice Toolkit This professional learning toolkit includes classroom videos, student work samples, and lesson plans (along with robust facilitator supports and analysis tools). All of these toolkit components help educators dig into the connection between lesson plans, lesson execution, and student outcomes—something that isn’t always immediately clear. As we work together to improve our instruction, it is important to use the same language and be on the same page about what to look for. This toolkit can help!


  • ELA Fluency Guides – Available in grades Kindergarten through 12, the fluency guides are designed to explain what the new, high standards for ELA say about what students should learn in each grade, what they mean for curriculum and instruction, and how we can implement teaching practices that support them. These guides demonstrate how fluency practice can be integrated into ELA and instruction across content areas.
  • Math Content Guides – These are the math counterpart to the ELA fluency guides, and are available in grades Kindergarten through Algebra II. Guides include practical information about what the grade-level math standards are saying, along with examples of instructional materials that support conceptual understanding, problem-solving, and procedural skill and fluency for students.
  • Bias Toolkit – This toolkit is designed to support conversations among colleagues about the ways that race, bias, and prejudice show up in their school community – and what they can do about it. The toolkit contains a high-level overview of how to facilitate this three-part conversation and offers notes, resources, and activities to support productive conversations.

We all need more places where we can feel safe to ask questions, and where we can trust that we will receive thoughtful answers. Each of these organizations offers additional conversation and shares resources on their social channels, and each sees your questions as an opportunity to help us learn and grow together in this work. You can visit them all here:

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About the Author: Student Achievement Partners is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers and school leaders implement high-quality, college- and career-ready standards. We believe that challenging academic standards are the foundation for improved student outcomes, but that standards alone are not enough. Students will only make dramatic gains in achievement if instructional materials, assessments, and classroom practices are true to the expectations of high-quality, college- and career-ready standards. Our work is grounded in research and evidence, and we are committed to sharing standards-aligned tools and practices freely with educators across the country. This site offers hundreds of math and literacy instructional resources for teachers and school leaders. We invite you to explore these materials, sign up for our newsletter, and become part of a dynamic network committed to raising student achievement in schools across the country.