March 18, 2013

New learning standards will help prepare students for college and careers

More than 400 school districts, businesses, individuals, and colleges and universities have stepped forward to endorse Missouri's implementation of the Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts.

The State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards for math and English as part of the Missouri Learning Standards in 2010. The new standards will be in use in all public school districts in the state by fall 2014.

The new standards were developed and adopted by states to define the knowledge and skills all students should know and be able to do to be on track for success in college and careers.

Currently, about one-third of recent high school graduates in Missouri must take remedial classes to prepare for college-level coursework. The new standards, which promote critical thinking and reasoning, align with entry-level college courses. With successful implementation, the Common Core State Standards are expected to drastically reduce the need for remedial classes.

Chris L. Nicastro, commissioner of education, said the standards set a clear roadmap for academic expectations.

"Students will know well ahead of high school graduation what knowledge and skills they will need to be successful, whether they elect to go on to college or other postsecondary training, or join the workforce," Nicastro said. "The standards are relevant, attainable and based on practical, real-world learning goals."

Nicastro emphasized that individual school districts will continue to develop their own curricula, and classroom teachers will decide how best to teach to the new standards.

"There is no state-mandated curriculum," she said.

Having uniform learning goals across the state and nation helps students who transfer to another school district, as well as students from military families who come to Missouri from another state.

The Common Core State Standards will also help make Missouri students competitive in a globally recruited workforce, said David Russell, commissioner of higher education.

"Implementing the Common Core State Standards will lower remediation rates, increase rates of college completion and provide significant savings to students, their families and the state," Russell said. "The standards are essential if we are to increase the number of Missourians with a college degree, which translates to almost a million more dollars in lifetime earnings for the student and a more robust economy for the state."

The Common Core State Standards have been endorsed by more than 200 Missouri school districts, 90 individuals, 50 educational organizations, 40 businesses and business organizations, and 35 institutions of higher education. A complete list of endorsements is available at dese.mo.gov/documents/CCSS-Support-lists.pdf.

 

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