May 2014

States across the country have always established their own academic standards, curricula, and achievement goals. This inconsistency, however, creates problems for children from military families, who must move and change schools frequently as their parents are reassigned. For these children, moving from state to state not only has significant social and emotional challenges, it also complicates their education. It is critical for states to minimize the strain that moving has on these children; adopting and effectively implementing the Common Core State Standards would ensure that as students change schools, their education is consistent and of high quality.
Common Core can help improve education for children from military families:
• Families can be confident that their children will receive a high-quality and consistent education when they move across state lines.
• Students will not bear the burden of missing or repeating classes on top of the stress of moving across state lines.
• Consistent expectations will ease the transition from one year to the next as students cross state lines, allowing them to graduate on time.

Read more at the Center for American Progress website.

Mike MartinMike Martin is chancellor of the Colorado State University System.

Colorado is facing strong headwinds as we look to develop the state’s workforce of the future. Experts predict that by 2020, 74 percent of all the jobs in this state will require a college degree or some kind of post-secondary technical training.

If Colorado is going to develop that next generation of talent from within — which most leaders in business, politics and education agree is the goal — then much of the work of growing and building that workforce is going to fall to the state’s education system. It’s a daunting task and, according to the Lumina Foundation, we are not on pace to meet the goal.

Simply put, we must improve the pipeline of students coming out of the education system if we’re going to meet Colorado’s 21st century workforce needs. That’s why I join with many of my colleagues from across Colorado and within higher education to support the Common Core for K-12, a new set of education standards for what students should know and are able to do at each grade level. (more…)

rulerIn 2010, a who’s who of American educators and politicians joined forces to spearhead a national initiative with wide appeal and few if any critics. It was called the Common Core.

The pols and educators agreed: Too many U.S. students breezed through weak state achievement tests (think Illinois’ defunct ISAT), only to falter against tougher national and international assessments. Many students who reached college needed intensive tutoring.

The prescription: Create “a common set of high expectations for students across the country.” State school superintendents, other education leaders and teachers nationwide would write tough national math and English standards.

For English, the Core standards suggest that students be exposed to “classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, seminal works of American literature and the writings of Shakespeare.” The standards stress reading comprehension, clear writing and vocabulary growth. There is no required reading list. (more…)

CalculatorBy Dan Snowberger, Superintendent of the Durango School District

Anyone watching the debate on both the state and national level knows there are a lot of discussions happening around the issue of assessment in public education.

There is no doubt we are entering a new phase of accountability in public education. We must ensure all students, regardless of background, achieve and learn within our schools.

This spring, we’ve gone through a transition period where our schools have completed their last year of the old assessment (CSAP/TCAP) and piloted new assessments. These assessments are based on new, higher academic standards, known as the Colorado Academic Standards, that have raised the bar for all of Colorado’s schools, so we can make sure our students are better prepared for college and the workforce. These standards emphasize real learning over basic memorization and test-taking skills and give students, parents and teachers clear and consistent benchmarks for every grade level.

 (more…)

By The Daily Sentinel

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The good news is that for the second year in a row District 51 third-graders beat the state average in scoring at or above grade level on 2014 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program reading tests: 72 percent to 71.5 percent.

The bad news? Both the district and the state averages are down slightly from last year. Whether they can pull those numbers up will remain something of a mystery because the TCAP is being replaced by a new assessment that won’t provide an apples-to-apples comparison, but, hopefully, better results.

Still, it’s good to know that students in our district aren’t falling behind or performing worse than the rest of the state. And the new testing, we think, warrants some optimism about the state’s gradual implementation of new academic standards. (more…)

PrintWant to know why the business community cares deeply about high expectations and quality assessments for our children? Click through to check out the Future Forward infographic.  (more…)