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

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.

Major General James “Spider” Marks on High Standards

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Major General James “Spider” Marks gives powerful testimony as to why military families deserve consistent, high-quality education standards.

Upgrading to fairer, more accurate assessments

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Jandel Allen-Davis

Jandel Allen-Davis

By Jandel Allen-Davis and David Beal

In the health-care and insurance industries, we depend on evaluation and feedback from our customers and patients to help us provide better products and services. Similarly, our employees use input from supervisors to mark and monitor progress, celebrate wins and identify areas for improvement.

In much the same way, parents and educators need accurate feedback about the critical knowledge and skills Colorado’s students are acquiring throughout their education. Now more than ever, we need to know that our students are prepared for college and career.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure at the moment. By 2020 in Colorado, 74 percent of all jobs will require some post-secondary education. Right now, only 22 percent of Colorado’s students will complete a two or four-year degree program. Simply put, if we stay on this track, Colorado’s kids will not be ready for Colorado’s jobs. This is why we are a part of Future Forward Colorado, along with a coalition of business organizations statewide, to show support for higher expectations known as the Colorado Academic Standards, which include the Common Core in English and math, and aligned assessments. more

Richardson: Don’t let politics block Common Core

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Country’s problem of unequal education is too important to be sacrificed to partisanship.

I’m no stranger to the full-contact sport of politics. But to this day, it still irks me to see how easily a thoughtful and painstaking approach to fixing real problems can be hijacked by shortsighted, sometimes cynical decisions made for nothing more than political gain. Our political system has an amazing and at times frustrating tolerance for this kind of trade-off, which is rooted in the assumption that given enough time and information, voters will eventually make the right choice. There are some issues, though, that demand more urgent attention, especially when the remedy is within our grasp. Fixing this problem is too important to be sacrificed on the altar of politics. more

Standards are the goals — curriculum is the playbook. 

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Understand the Colorado Academic Standards, which include the Common Core in English and Math, through the lens of football.

Football Infographic explaining colorado curriculum

Investing in Colorado’s workforce of tomorrow is key requirement today

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Bob Tointonby Bob Tointon

Ask any of Colorado’s business leaders and they’ll tell you — the success of their company or organization depends on the knowledge and skills of their employees. Whether we’re in manufacturing and distribution, like Phelps-Tointon, or any other industry thriving in Greeley’s booming economy, we rely on a workforce that is up to the challenges of the job today and can adapt to the challenges that will come tomorrow.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the business community has a vested interest in education. That’s why I work closely with Greeley-Evans School District 6, and there is a lot of good work happening there. Despite these successes, our education system as a whole is in need of an upgrade. more