In an effort to increase the United States’ competitive edge in the global economy, governors and commissioners of education from 46 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia have signed the Common Core State Standards Initiative, thereby committing their states to establish a common core of standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research- and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations, and include rigorous content and skills.
The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers are leading this initiative, with the College Board, Achieve, Inc. and ACT directly involved in drafting the standards. Building on recent efforts by states and other education organizations working to increase rigor and develop college-and career-ready standards, the initiative will ensure that these standards can be internationally benchmarked to top-performing countries around the world. The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states will voluntarily adopt.
“To maintain America’s competitive edge, we need all of our students to be prepared and ready to compete with students from around the world,” said Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, vice chair of the NGA. “Common standards that allow us to internationally benchmark our students’ performance with other top countries have the potential to bring about a real and meaningful transformation of our education system to the benefit of all Americans.”
According to the NGA and CCSSO, the following states have joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
“Only when we agree about what all high school graduates need to be successful will we be able to tackle the most significant challenge ahead of us: transforming instruction for every child,” said CCSSO President-elect and Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron. “Common standards will provide educators clarity and direction about what all children need to succeed in college and the workplace, and allow states to more readily share best practices that dramatically improve teaching and learning. Our graduates and, frankly, the future of our economy cannot wait any longer for our educational practices to give equal opportunity for success to
The NGA Center and CCSSO are coordinating the process to develop these standards and have created an expert validation committee to provide an independent review of the common core state standards, as well as the grade-by-grade standards. This committee will be composed of nationally and internationally recognized and trusted education experts who are neutral to — and independent of — the process. The college- and career-ready standards are expected to be completed in July 2009. The grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009.
Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer is leading this effort for the College Board with assistance from staff of the Research and Development group. The College Board has developed Standards for College Success in math and English language arts for middle to high school grades that have been used to assist districts, states and other educators in designing curriculum and assessments that are rigorous and required to support college readiness. The College Board is currently completing similar standards for science that will be released in mid summer.
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