Is there an educator on the planet who has not contemplated the ramifications and wondered about the value of the Common Core Standards?
How did we come to this current movement for reform? In 1996, U.S. governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, INC., a bi-partisan organization with goals to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, to improve assessments, and to strengthen accountability in all 50 states.
In 2002, No Child Left Behind became the response to this call for education reform. However, a decade later, this movement seems to have become stuck in assessment paperwork and an overall failure to thrive.
The initial motivation for the development of the Common Core State Standards was part of the American Diploma Project (ADP) sponsored by The Education Trust, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and Achieve, Inc. In 2004, the ADP released new graduation benchmarks in response to statistical analysis of employment data and extensive research involving faculty members postsecondary institutions, front-line managers, and high school educators. In a nutshell, the analysis clearly indicated that students are not entering the world of college and career with the knowledge base and skills needed to compete and succeed. The 2004 benchmarks clearly identified the English and math that graduates must master to succeed in credit-bearing college courses and high-performance, high-growth jobs.
Fast forward to 2012. Charged with the responsibility to prepare our students, educators throughout the country are deciphering and responding. Some are wary of the Common Core Standards having been disappointed by assessment trumping reforms with No Child Left Behind. Others are confused about what needs to change and what needs to be continued. And still others are simply not convinced that the Common Core Standards will create the outcomes needed.
Regardless of how we weigh in on current reforms, the bottom line is the same for one and all. In common, we must establish education standards that will develop the core skills required for successful competition in the 21st century global marketplace!