In Anne Arundel County, school officials also decided to transition to a digital math curriculum for teachers. In an effort to cut down on paper use, they decided to engineer their website so lessons couldn't be printed out in schools.
But Andrea Kane, assistant superintendent for instruction, said they soon realized not all schools had a computer for every teacher, making it difficult and time-consuming to get access to the lessons. As a result, Anne Arundel, like Baltimore County, decided to deliver printed copies of the curriculum to schools.
The school systems in Baltimore City and Harford and Howard counties did not respond to requests for information on how the implementation of the Common Core is progressing.
While teachers are concerned about the logistics of common core, some conservatives around the nation have begun to raise questions about what they see as the takeover of local schools by the federal government.
On Thursday, Ellicott City parent Robert Small, 46, disrupted a public forum in Towson conducted by the State Department of Education with concerns that the curriculum will lower education standards in Maryland.
Small was escorted out when he refused to stop talking, and said to other parents, "You are sitting here like cattle. Is this America?" A police report said Small tried to push the officer away, and he was later charged with second-degree assault of a police officer.
The Common Core standards, a collaborative effort of the National Governor's Association and the association of state school superintendents, have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The effort has been encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education, and states that agreed to adopt the standards and make other changes received additional federal funding.
In January, six months after Dance took over as superintendent in Baltimore County, the school board approved a $5.3 million contract with a company called edCount LLC to write the new curriculum in conjunction with school system staff and deliver it online by August. This was after previous, costly curriculum rewrites were shelved.
Then Dance said he decided school personnel could do the job more efficiently and cheaply than edCount. So after the company had developed a framework for the curriculum, the school system decided to get out of the contract. The county has not provided information about how much it paid edCount.
Baltimore County teachers had their first look at the curriculum only days before the beginning of school. Even now, Baltimore County elementary teachers say they only have a language arts curriculum for the first six weeks of school.
By mid-October, White said, teachers will get the next set of lessons as well as the curriculum framework for the year.
In some cases, she believes teachers have abandoned the new curriculum and are returning to printouts of curriculum they used last year, while others are trying to meld the two.
Despite the problems, Mannion, the teacher at Westowne Elementary, is not complaining about the new standards.
"In theory, I love the language arts curriculum," she said.