Opinion: In favor of Common Core

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), also referred to as the Career and College Ready Standards (CCRS), are a continuation of the legacy of former President George H.W. Bush, who was the first to introduce national standards in his Goals 2000.

However, unlike earlier versions of national standards (Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind), which were federal initiatives, the CCSS were developed by the National Governors’ Association working with the Nation’s Commissioners of Education and hundreds of teachers, administrators, parents, specialists, community leaders, and other stakeholders. The new standards are intended to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for American students and promote American competitiveness in global markets.

Why new standards?  US student ranking in comparison to international students in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) continue to fall behind in math, science, and reading. Fourteen countries, including Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Shanghai, Singapore and various parts of China, had higher average scores  than US students and most have national standards in education. What is worse, many of the countries whose students were behind  their American peers in 2009 have forged ahead, leaving US students trailing. This does not bode well for our Nation’s future.

A more immediate reason is that NH and American employers of high tech companies cannot find qualified American applicants to fill positions requiring skills in math, science, engineering, or technology.

A few facts…. the CCSS are goals or expectations of achievement for students, K-12 that were adopted in principle by the NH State Board of Education in 2010. NH is a local control state so individual school districts have a choice whether or not to adopt them.

Most have.

There is no curriculum associated with the CCSS. Many teachers use existing texts and resources combined with their own creativity to implement learning activities to help students learn.

The CCSS are supported by the academic and business communities including the NH BIA, PTA, NEA-NH, and many others.

Students’ learning and achievement will be assessed with new instruments including the PSAT and SAT that are aligned with the CCSS whether or not the school districts have adopted the standards.

The intent and goals of the CCSS are laudable and overdue. Public support, as demonstrated by the majority of NH communities and most recently by the NH legislature, is critical if they are to be successful and of benefit to our students.

Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, is a Concord Democrat in her ninth term and Chairman of the House Education Committee.

Author: Mary Stuart Gile

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