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Might be summer, but education leaders aren’t resting

• Dave Myslinski

As we enter the summer months, education leaders aren’t resting. Local districts are preparing for—and welcoming—more challenging academic standards for students. States are realizing that while the skills and knowledge being taught now may have been needed for the old economy, they aren’t aligned to the modern needs of our interconnected, global economy. This misalignment is made abundantly clear when you see that only one out of every five 18-year olds is prepared for the rigors of college.

Take a moment to read what states, districts, and other education leaders are saying about the need to prepare students for the challenges beyond high school.

What They Are Really Saying About Higher Standards:

A Conservative Win
“Common Core should be a conservative triumph. Initiated by a bipartisan group of governors, it aims to replace the convoluted, overlapping regime of state No Child Left Behind standards. Instead, it proposes a relatively straightforward set of principles, voluntarily and jointly adopted by multiple states.” (Michael A. Smith, “Common Core a breath of fresh air,” The Wichita Eagle, 6/30/13)

Setting the Bar Higher for Students
“In 2011, LEAP scores deemed 74 percent of our fourth-graders proficient in math and 60 percent proficient in English Language Arts (ELA). That same year, however, those same students scored 26 percent proficient in math and 22 percent proficient in ELA on the more challenging National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. That’s a huge disparity! We need to recognize that the bar for Louisiana’s standardized tests is way too low.” (Rayne Martin, “Letter: School standards must be high,” The Advocate, 6/30/13)

Stronger Standards are Welcomed by Local Districts
“’These new standards will raise the expectations of all students,’ [Delaware City School District Superintendent Paul Craft] said. ‘It will drive us to push ourselves and our students harder. It will make it more rigorous, which is a good thing.’ Students in the past who have been considered ‘advanced’ will not necessarily be advance with the new assessments, Craft said. ‘Some will not be considered proficient when the new standards come out because the passing level will have been raised,’ he said. ‘This will drive our kids to push themselves.’” (Kristina Thomas, “District welcomes challenge of Common Core standards,” ThisWeek Community News, 7/1/13)

Higher Standards are the Foundation for Excellence
“’It is not a special way of delivering English, language arts, reading or math, it is simply, in clear terms, laying out what your students should know at each grade level and subject matter,’ said Nielsen, a self-described ‘conservative Republican’ who lives in Beaufort County. She was speaking at the First Monday Republican Lunch Group at Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Cafe.” (Casey Conley, “Don’t fear Common Core, Nielsen tells local Republicans,” The Island Packet, 7/1/13)

More Rigorous Standards Will Prepare Students for Future Challenges
“The CCSS in English and mathematics is a triumph of both substance and collaboration. These new standards are more rigorous and significantly clearer than the state standards they replace. The fact that they are shared across states holds the promise that the best practices in education can be replicated across the nation, with better materials and more coherent training and assessment of progress and results.” (Craig R. Barrett and Michael Cohen, “Students will go farther faster with Common Core standards,” Orlando Sentinel, 6/30/13)

Developing Command of Textual Knowledge
“’The kind of careful readers the Common Core literacy standards seek to develop are exactly the kind of readers that people of a Word-based faith seek to cultivate, too: readers encouraged to develop command of textual knowledge, to ask reverent questions of the text, to rely on textual evidence making judgments and drawing conclusions, and to demonstrate these skills by producing their own skillful texts,’ wrote Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior, in Christianity Today.” (Matthew Brown, “Evangelical educator says Common Core resonates with her faith,” Deseret News, 6/25/13)

About the author

Dave Myslinski

Dave Myslinski serves as a Communications Specialist for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and was the State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now, focusing on digital education policies across all 50 states. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as the Education Task Force Director at the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he focused on digital learning, K-12 education reform, and higher education policies on the state level. He is a coauthor of the Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform for ALEC, and currently serves on its Education Task Force Executive Committee and is a Vice-Chair of the Digital Learning Subcommittee. Dave has previously worked on state policies relating to health care and telecommunications. He is a graduate of Rutgers University. Contact Dave at