Today, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers held the second in a series of informational sessions to share progress and get feedback regarding their work on the Core State Standards Initiative. The Initiative will develop two sets of common state standards in mathematics and language arts – one that ensures college and career readiness, the other that sets grade-by-grade benchmarks for grades K-12 – that states can voluntarily adopt. Standards in science and social studies are expected in the future. To date, 46 states and 3 territories have joined the Initiative. By doing so, they agree that their governor and state commissioner of education will help to develop a common core of state standards. These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills.
Currently, each state has its own set of standards which makes it difficult for students to transition between states. Inconsistency also means that students may be learning at different levels. In order for the next generation of American workers to compete globally, they must all be learning the skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace at the same level. CCSSO President-Elect and Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron said, “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 every student.”
A draft of the college and career ready standards are expected to be completed in July 2009, while a draft of the grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009. These drafts will be assessed by an expert validation committee which will provide an independent review of the common standards. After validation, the states will have three years to adopt the standards, if they so choose.