How do common standards affect me?
All of us, including you, will benefit from the adoption of common standards.
Students will benefit because common standards will help prepare them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and career. Clearer standards will help students understand what is expected of them and allow for more self-directed learning. The existence of research-based standards aligned to college and career success will minimize the chance that a student will take all of the courses required for high school graduation and do well in them only to find themselves unprepared to handle credit-bearing coursework in college. Higher, clearer standards will help every American participate in the twenty-first-century economy by providing them with a level of knowledge and skills comparable to their peers across the country and around the world.
Parents will benefit because common standards will help them understand exactly what their children need to know and be able to do in each grade in order to be prepared for success in college and careers. Since the standards will be consistent from state to state, parents can expect equal access to high-quality education and minimal disruption to learning if their families should move from one state to another. The adoption of common standards will help all parents support their children and their teachers by making expectations clear and goals high.
Businesses will benefit because common standards will help to build a skilled workforce. In order to stay competitive, businesses must have workers who have the knowledge and skills needed to perform their jobs successfully and to learn on the job. Businesses will benefit from a highly skilled, entry level workforce by saving time and money that would otherwise be allocated to basic or remedial training programs. Common standards will help businesses across America be more productive, profitable, and competitive.
Educators will benefit because common standards will provide a clearer, more accurate description of what students need to learn in each grade to be college and career ready by the time they graduate from high school. Teachers will no longer struggle with an unwieldy number of standards that prevent them from covering all of the expected material or focusing on deeper learning of essential skills. Teachers will also be able to use the standards to chart a clear learning progression from year to year. They will also benefit from the development of higher quality textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials that the existence of common standards makes possible. Common standards can help teachers focus their instruction and improve their practice.
States and districts will benefit because common standards will enable them to leverage economies of scale by working together to develop and implement assessments, curricula, instructional materials, and other learning resources. Common standards provide an opportunity for states to pool together to develop tests based on a common framework. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont understand this; they came together to create the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), which has since been joined by Maine. As their experience shows, states can save money and develop more sophisticated instruments that do a better job of measuring the full range of knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate. Currently, states collectively spend $1.3 billion annually to develop, publish, administer, score, and report on tests. By working together to develop common assessments, states can improve test quality and save money—a huge priority for states in today’s tight budget environments.
Additionally, common standards that are aligned with college and career readiness will help states save money by reducing the need for college remediation. For example, if California’s high schools graduated all of their students ready for college, the state would save over $687.9 million a year in community college remediation costs and lost earnings; Illinois would save $210.2 million; and New York would save more than $192 million. Likewise, highly skilled graduates are able to get higher paying jobs leading to increases in the tax base and saving all taxpayers money. Common standards offer the potential for states to save money and for students to be better prepared for good jobs and successful careers.
How can I get involved?
View the Alliance’s common standards cards to learn which governing body in your state has the final authority to adopt common core state standards and when they plan to consider adoption. In most states, this is the state board of education, but there are several exceptions, for example, in Minnesota the state legislature makes the final call.
Write to your local state board or the governing body that has the final authority on adoption and express your support.
Inform and motivate your affiliated groups to become knowledgeable about and supportive of the effort. Whether you are a member of the PTA, local school board, or other community organization, this is an important issue to support!