September 2015

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Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Cheryl Oldham is the Vice President of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Another summer has come and gone and students across the country are getting acclimated to new teachers, new classrooms, new books, and new friends. The beginning of this school year provides us with an opportunity to look back over the past 12 months at the successes and the challenges as high education standards were implemented across the country. Despite what you may have heard, the 2014–2015 school year was an overwhelming success for high standards and, more importantly, for students being taught necessary skills to thrive beyond high school.

Much of the media coverage about the Common Core State Standards would make you believe that states are running away from the standards left and right. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, no states repealed the standards during their 2015 legislative sessions. That’s right. None. In fact, teachers are using the Common Core State Standards (or their equivalent in some states) in classrooms from coast to coast, and students are beginning to reap the benefits. (Read The 74 Flashcards: 20 Basic Things to Know About the Common Core)

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Kevin Knudsen is a professor of mathematics at the University of Florida

Math can’t catch a break. These days, people on both ends of the political spectrum are lining up to deride the Common Core standards, a set of guidelines for K-12 education in reading and mathematics. The Common Core standards outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. States don’t have to adopt the standards, although many did in an effort to receive funds from President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.

Conservatives oppose the guidelines because they generally dislike any suggestion that the federal government might have a role to play in public education at the state and local level; these standards, then, are perceived as a threat to local control.

Liberals, mostly via teachers’ unions, decry the use of the standards and the associated assessments to evaluate classroom instructors.

And parents of all persuasions are panicked by their sudden inability to help their children with their homework. Even comedian Louis CK got in on the discussion (via Twitter; he has since deactivated his account).  (more…)

In a recent video from Real Learning for Real Life, Colorado educators discuss the role they played in developing our state’s new high quality assessment. Check it out!

 

Why is improving our education system important for businesses’ bottom lines? As Colorado business leaders know, it’s simple: Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. And a skilled and educated workforce is essential for U.S. businesses to remain competitive at home and abroad.

Cheryl Oldham, Vice President of Education and Workforce Policy with the US Chamber of Commerce, recently discussed this exact topic in a podcast from The Business Impact. During the interview, Oldham highlighted the importance of higher standards, accountability, and effective business engagement in our schools. Check it out.