Our Focus

SETTING HIGHER EXPECTATIONS

The Colorado Academic Standards, which include the Common Core Standards, describe what students need to learn by the end of a school year. These help ensure that all students, no matter where they live, have an opportunity to achieve success after school.

By reaching for and exceeding Colorado’s high academic standards, our youth will develop the resiliency and skills to excel in college and become top performers in any profession.

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PUTTING KIDS FIRST


By 2020, 74% of Colorado jobs will require some post-secondary education. Currently, only 22 of every 100 high school students end up with that credential. As a result, Colorado schools currently are producing less than half of the workers needed to fill the top 30 occupations with the largest projected openings.

Strong academic preparation will give our children the skills and confidence they need to achieve their dreams.

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READYING OUR KIDS FOR COLORADO’S JOBS

Colorado’s economy is rising to meet the needs of the 21st century but the state’s employers don’t have enough skilled candidates so they increasingly import workers from other states and countries.

With the higher expectations set by Colorado’s new academic standards, which include the Common Core Standards, our students will keep pace with the constant change in our communities, our business climate, and our world.

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The latest news from Future Forward Colorado

What does “quality assessment” mean?

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The business community talks a lot about the importance of a “quality assessment.” Wondering what that means? Here are the pieces of a quality assessment.

What is a quality assessment?

A Leap Toward Postsecondary Success

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by Paul Lingenfelter

Paul E. Lingenfelter is president emeritus of the State Higher Education Executive Officers association. He is now on the board of PARCC, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Earlier this month, higher education leaders in Colorado took a significant step to close the persistent gap between the number of students who enroll in college and the number who graduate.

Officials at the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) on March 8 announced that Adams State University and Aims Community College will begin using PARCC, the state’s K-12 assessment of college and career readiness, to determine whether entering college freshman are prepared to take college level courses.

This makes Adams State and Aims the first colleges in the state and the nation to agree to use or validate PARCC as a college readiness assessment to determine which students need remediation.

Why is this progress? PARCC assessments, administered through high school and aligned with the requirements for success in college, provide feedback to students long before high school graduation. High school students and their teachers will know well in advance whether they are prepared or on track to being prepared for college-credit bearing courses. more

Parents, Don’t Opt Out of Transparency in Our Schools

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Pamela Nortonby Pamela Norton

Denver resident Pamela Norton is the founder and president of Activate, mother of two, and has many friends with children across the Colorado school system.

Parents, teachers, and the larger community in Colorado are frustrated with the amount of testing in our schools. Unfortunately, to demonstrate this concern, some parents are threatening to pull students out of the statewide PARCC test. This dissenting voice should be heard, but the tactic of opting-out doesn’t solve the problem of over-testing. Instead, it reduces transparency.

I am a parent of two children, who were students at what I thought were high performing public schools. However, after my oldest graduated, I was shocked to learn that she didn’t have many of the skills needed to succeed in college. Since then, I also realized my son is behind in high school. How could a school be labeled as an A+ school yet still have 40 percent of its students needing some sort of remedial education? That doesn’t sound like an A+ to me. more

Keep Calm & Stay Strong, Colorado

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Future Forward’s newest infographic tells how our country’s standards haven’t been up to par for decades — and how the Colorado Academic Standards and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS/PARCC) fix that.

Are Colorado's students prepared to compete?

Do you believe in Colorado’s standards and assessments? Share out this icon on social media:

CMAS_Stay Strong Graphic

PARCC is an important test. Here’s why.

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koaColorado Succeeds’ Vice President of Policy Luke Ragland spoke to 850 KOA this morning about the importance of the statewide assessment. He debunks many myths about testing in this interview and offers some clear reasons why parents should opt in to the tests. Listen here:

New U.S. Chamber of Commerce Video on Standards

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Our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have a new video out about the importance of high standards. View it here:

 

The Common Core: Setting the Record Straight

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bill bennettby Bill Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education for Pres. Reagan and host of the nationally syndicated talk show, “Morning in America.”

The implementation of the Common Core State Standards has stirred up much controversy and debate. Some of this debate is healthy, particularly over how to develop rigorous, common standards and assessments. Also, the criticism of the federal government’s intrusion into a state-led initiative is a legitimate matter for distress. Increasingly, however, lies, myths, exaggerations and hysteria about what the Common Core means and does have dominated the “debate” and the real issues have been obscured. Dishonest critics have decided that the Common Core is a pestilence on the land and have so characterized it. It is not. more

Teacher: Don’t throw out PARCC in Colorado until it has been instituted

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Re: “PARCC won’t solve our testing problems,” Feb. 6 guest commentary.

Michael Mazenko notes that the argument for PARCC tests is not “evidence-based.” Neither is the argument against — we haven’t even administered the test yet.

Where is the sense in spending countless hours and dollars on a new, high-quality test that seeks to solve so many of the problems associated with old standardized tests, only to trash it all based on speculation (mixed with a little politics and fear)?

I was one of the educators from Colorado involved in the development and review of PARCC test items, and I spent considerable time making sure it aligns to the standards and uses authentic text and real-world problems to cultivate a rich and engaging learning experience. While we will likely need to refine and tweak it, it’s still a good test.

The law requires us to have an assessment in place, so if we pull out of PARCC, the alternative is to start from scratch. That alone should convince naysayers to at least stay the course until we have that “evidence.”

Jessica Moore, Longmont

This letter was published in the Feb. 15 edition of The Denver Post.

 

Standards & Assessments Task Force Recommendations

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Standards & Assessments Task Force PresentationThe Standards & Assessments Task Force, also known as the HB1202 Commission, finished its work last week with a presentation to the Joint House and Senate Education Committees at the Colorado General Assembly. The business community was represented on the task force by Donna Lynne from Kaiser Permanente and Luke Ragland of Colorado Succeeds.

Read the full recommendations by clicking here.

Or get up-to-speed with a few highlights from Colorado Public Radio.