The importance of the Common Core State Standards

Posted on Wednesday, 3/20/2013 2:00 pm

To date, 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the American Samoa Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have fully adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although schools in these areas are currently in the process of implementing the CCSS, some educators and parents may still be wondering why new standards are necessary, or what they will mean for instruction. 

Why are the CCSS necessary?
While many K-12 students go to school and receive a high-quality education, there is no denying that the instruction some institutions deliver leaves much to be desired. In fact, for 2013, Education Week gave the U.S. an average grade of a C+ for the quality of its education system. The country's average was weighed down by low-performing states such as South Dakota and Nevada, which received a D+ and C-, respectively.

The CCSS are designed to provide a way of improving the nation's education system. Developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010, the CCSS are a set of educational standards that will help teachers know what types of knowledge and skills students must possess in order to succeed in college and the workforce. According to the CCSS' website, the standards, which focus on English language arts and mathematics, are clear, consistent, evidence-based and rigorous.

How will the CCSS affect instruction?
As the CCSS are more rigorous, students who attend schools that have never been known for providing the highest quality education should be prepared to work harder. Although the transition to the new standards may be difficult at first, their existence will allow students to spend less time absorbing information they will never use, while teachers have an opportunity to become much more effective educators.

At the same time, the fact that 45 states have adopted the standards means that students on one coast will be learning at the same pace as their peers on the other. If families must relocate to another state, parents do not have to worry about their children falling behind in their schooling so long as they are going from one Common Core state to another.

Instruction in CCSS-aligned classrooms may also take a giant leap into the future, as educators strive to prepare students for careers that will require them to use technology. Under the CCSS, many teachers may integrate everything from smartphones and tablet computers to student software and online activities into their daily lessons.

Support for the CCSS from the Obama Administration
It should come as no surprise that those who want the nation's youth to succeed are also among the Common Core's biggest supporters. Arne Duncan, the current secretary of education, and the Obama Administration are among the CCSS' many fans.

"As the nation seeks to maintain our international competitiveness, ensure all students regardless of background have access to a high-quality education, and prepare all students for college, work and citizenship, these standards are an important foundation for our collective work," said Duncan in 2010, following the release of the CCSS.







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