The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to provide a nationally consistent framework that will ready American students for success in college and in the global workforce. To date, 44 states have adopted the common core standards approach and numerous public and private business partners, including Scientific Learning, have endorsed this vision of consistence and clarity in our nation’s education system.
What’s important to recognize is that the Common Core State Standards Initiative is NOT a directive from the federal government. Each state voluntarily adopts the standards based on timelines and context within their state; this is key. The role of the federal government will be to support states as they begin to implement this approach by providing flexibility in the use of existing federal funds, accountability metrics and revise or align existing federal education laws with the lessons learned from past initiatives. The outcome will be a more collaborative state- and federal-level relationship that will focus on employing the best practices and highest evidence-based outcomes from educational research across the country.
The goal of the Common Core is to provide educators with an exocentric understanding of what students are expected to learn, allowing them to identify the most effective strategies and modes of instruction that will help them excel in serving their students’ needs. Leading the effort are the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). Comprised of state leaders in conjunction with parents, teachers, school administrators, business partners and experts from across the country, they have developed a shared set of goals and expectations that will help our students succeed.
To ensure this process is collaborative, inclusive and rigorous, several working groups and committees have been formed to develop, write and validate the approach to implementing these common standards across the country. By aligning our country’s standards with other high achieving educational models and setting realistic goals, we will be better positioned to meet the real world expectations and prepare our nation’s students for college and career-oriented success beyond the K-12 classroom.
The importance of the Common Core State Standards Initiative continues to be viewed from many angles, although there are areas of uncertainty that have given rise to opposition. Of course, standards alone cannot improve the quality of our nation’s education system, but they do give educators a clearer vision for setting goals and expectations for their students. The standards will not prevent different levels of achievement among students, but they will help teachers provide more consistent exposure to curriculum and meaningful instruction through opportunity-based learning and classroom experiences.
Students will no doubt benefit as our country continues to do the right things in calibrating the education system, promoting more frequent, intense and adaptive instruction to improve the way students learn and strengthen our rank among the top-performing nations in the world.