Common Core State Standards Initiative – overhauling education in the US
It didn’t come as a surprise when President Obama, in his weekly radio broadcast, last September, made that hard-hitting statement on the country’s education. Pointing at some worrisome statistics on the US school systems, he revealed how children raised in the US are lagging those in other nations in education! Children in the US also trail too many other countries in math, science and reading, he said. (source)
Other pointers say, that as many as a quarter of students here don’t even finish high school. With a high percentage of school and college dropouts, the country, ironically though, known for some of the best academic institutions in the world, has now slipped to a sad 16th spot in the global rank in college completion among young adults! (source)
Alarming data, which forewarn of the economic plight that the US might recede into once again, if it cannot afford to create a knowledge pool of able minds to rebuild its economy.
The Common Core State Initiative, (www.corestandards.org) an effective education policy to promote a national curriculum involving the states, is the best possible answer to this malaise in the US school systems.
A state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the program defines a set of robust and relevant guiding principles to align all states around a ‘common core of standards’ in education; and which will enhance academic and practical skills among children across the country. These standards outline the knowledge and expertise students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school, and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
Developed with steady assistance from teachers, content experts, states, leading thinkers, advisory groups and feedback from citizens concerned with education, the mission came to a successful fruition in June 2010, when it was formally launched. The NGA Center and CCSSO received nearly 10,000 comments on the standards during two public comment periods, which helped build a clear and concise module! The standards, which have also extracted the best from the already existing effective state models and global standards, inform parents, teachers and educators on the appropriate benchmarks for all students regardless of where they live.
Already adopted in 49 states and territories, the modules which promote rigorous content and evidence-based learning, is a rich set of guidelines and references; they do not seek to impose any reading list for the schools, instead, offer maximum flexibility to schools while adopting their particular texts.
Already adopted for maths, English language arts and literature and to be developed in phases for science and other social studies, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an exemplary program that will equip children in the US to compete successfully in the global economy.