With New School Year, Advocacy of Common Core Gains Energy
With the new school year now under way, advocates of Common Core State Standards have been out in front in their promotion of the needed educational reforms. A round-up:
Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, explains in a Wall Street Journal opinion column today that Common Core State Standards are a key to addressing the issue: “How to Stop the Drop in American Education.”
Tillerson, who chairs Business Roundtable’s Education and Workforce Committee, writes, “More and more jobs are applying cutting-edge technologies and now demand deeper knowledge of math and science in positions that most people don't think of as STEM-related, including machinists, electricians, auto techs, medical technicians, plumbers and pipefitters.” He further explains that the standards encourage students to analyze and apply critical reasoning skills to the math and reading they encounter.
BRT President John Engler discussed business' support of the standards in a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for American Progress on Wednesday, Sept. 4, "The Common Core State Standards and New Assessments." (With video, see also photo below.)
The discussion also featured two state education commissioners, John King of New York and Terry Holliday of Kentucky, who have led their states into adoption of the standards by involving teachers, parents, the business community and the public.
Gannett featured Kentucky's success recently in a news story, "More schools roll out Common Core guidelines."
It's only the sixth day of school at Hite Elementary School, but [teacher Kathy] Young wastes no time going over some of the math problems her students were expected to master at the end of fourth grade under the Common Core Standards, a set of academic guidelines designed by states that clearly describe what students need to know before they complete each grade level.
"The first few years of implementing the Common Core was hard because the kids didn't have the foundation," Young said. She and other Kentucky teachers were the first in the nation to implement the newer, tougher standards two years ago. "But now that the foundation has been laid, it's getting easier to teach, and the kids have responded well."
NPR's Diane Rehm led a discussion of education among experts this week on her radio program, featuring:
- Arne Duncan,U.S. Secretary of Education, Obama administration.
- Fawn Johnson , correspondent, National Journal.
- Mike Petrilli, executive vice president, Thomas B. Fordham Institute (which features excellent commentary on the state standards)
- Richard Rothstein, research associate, Economic Policy Institute.
Finally, a re-link to an op-ed written by BRT's Engler and Thomas J. Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "Common Core Brings Benefits to Both Education & Our Economy," published widely across the country.
This common-sense initiative has earned the bipartisan support of state lawmakers. It also has the backing of the broader business community. Business leaders not only want to see U.S. students poised for personal success, we want to see them equipped with the skills to be productive employees and strong contributors to our economy.
Everyone who has a stake - parents, educators, labor, business and policymakers - must commit to working cooperatively toward our shared goal of strengthening U.S. education.
Our future is on the line. We urge governors and state legislators not to squander this opportunity to turn America's education system around
From the Center for American Progress, from left: New York Commissioner of Education John King; Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky, BRT's John Engler; CAP moderator Carmel Martin. (Photo courtesy CAP and Ralph Alswang)