Less than two months after the nation’s governors and state school chiefs released their final recommendations for national education standards, 27 states have adopted them and about a dozen more are expected to do so in the next two weeks.
The quick adoption of common standards for what students should learn in English and math each year from kindergarten through high school is attributable in part to the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition. States that adopt the standards by Aug. 2 win points in the competition for a share of the $3.4 billion to be awarded in September.
The common core standards, two years in the making and first released in draft form in March, are an effort to replace the current hodgepodge of state policy’s.
They lay out detailed expectations of skills that students should have at each grade level. Second graders, for example, should be able to read two-syllable words with long vowels, while fifth graders should be able to add and subtract fractions with different denominators.
Those states that are not winners in the Race to the Top competition may also have less incentive to follow through in carrying out the standards.
In August of 2010, NYS made it to the final round in Race to the Top dollars.
The problem of wide variations in state standards has become more serious in recent years, as some states weakened their standards to avoid being penalized under the federal No Child Left Behind law. This time, the standards were developed by the states themselves, not the federal government.
Last year, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers convened English and math experts to put together benchmarks for each grade.
FYI - Texas and Alaska said they did not want to participate in developing the standards. And Virginia has made it known that it does not plan to adopt the standards.
Increasingly, national standards are seen as a way to ensure that children in all states will have access to a similar education — and that financially strapped state governments do not have to spend limited resources on developing their own standards and tests.
The “Common Core Standards” as they are called, focus exclusively on English and Math, so as to avoid politically charged subjects such as American history. Although the title avoids the word “national”, in reality, the “Common Core Standards” are national standards – we will now be able to compare how students in New York compare with students in South Dakota.
the standards will finally enable us to get a good grasp on the data of how well we are actually educating our children.
Introduction to the Common Core State Standards (66.09 KB)
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (1.50 MB)
English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects - Appendix A - Research Supporting Key Elements of the Standards; Glossary of Key Terms (879.32 KB)
English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects - Appendix B - Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks (1.53 MB)
English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects - Appendix C - Samples of Student Writing ( 22.28 MB)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (1.10 MB)
Common Core State Standards Initiative Toolkit - This toolkit was designed as a space to gather public feedback on the final draft NGA/CCSSO Common Core State Standards. National Governors Association/Council of Chief State School Officers Common Core State Standards Initiative
New York State Standards Review Initiative
Board of Regents Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process
Design curriculum frameworks that are sequenced, spiraled, content- rich and form the foundation for world-class learning, professional development, pre-service education, formative assessment, and summative assessment
Integrate the revised learning standards into the State’s P-12 schools
Revise the State’s Testing Program to measure student attainment of the learning standards
Revise/create standards in other subjects, such as science, technology, and the Arts
For systemic change to occur, educators and students must be supported (e.g., time, resources, teacher preparation, professional development) in changing classroom practice to facilitate attainment of the learning standards