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Miriam Rollin is VP/COO for the Council for a Strong America

IPaintbrushest may sound like the opening line of a joke – but it’s no joke. It’s a powerful reality to make the case for the continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and aligned assessments.

For instance, last summer, 23 police chiefs from across Tennessee released a Fight Crime: Invest in Kids report demonstrating the connection between educational deficits, unemployment, and crime in their communities. Research shows that long-term changes in wages and employment opportunities among non-college educated men may explain as much as half of property and violent crime rates. The report also focused on the importance of continued implementation of the CCSS to address those educational deficits. The media coverage included stories on four local TV networks, as well as in The Tennessean and another local paper.

In November, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved moving forward with the Pennsylvania Core Standards and aligned assessments – and one voice that stood out in the debates was that of Pennsylvania retired admirals and generals. Members of Mission: Readiness released a report at the Pennsylvania State Capitol showing that poor educational achievement is one of the biggest reasons why an estimated 75% of young adults in America are unable to join the military. The report showed how the implementation of CCSS and aligned assessments is a critical step in reducing the number of young adults who cannot score highly enough on the military’s exam for math, literacy, and problem-solving to qualify for service. And having common standards across states also means that children of those who serve our nation – who move six-to-nine times during their elementary and secondary education – are less likely to have education challenges like repeating Algebra 1, and missing geometry. The event was covered on two Harrisburg TV stations and in articles in The Patriot-News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and other papers. Mission: Readiness members also met with and submitted a sign-on letter to policymakers, and a member testified before the Pennsylvania State Board of Education in September and before the IRRC in November.

When North Carolina was about to publish the results of their Common Core-aligned assessments, business executives released an America’s Edge report in September showing that, if current trends continue, North Carolina could face a shortage of 46,000 workers. The business leaders explained that CCSS and aligned assessments are essential to address that skills gap, and that lower test scores initially are the result of setting the bar higher. Rather than backing away from higher standards, we must ensure that children can meet the standards. The event coverage included both an article and an editorial in the Raleigh News and Observer.

Bringing such unexpected messengers to debates on CCSS and assessments can help policymakers and the public understand the impact of decisions on the public safety, national security, and economic strength of America. See more at www.councilforastrongamerica.org.

This post originally appeared in the Hunt Institute’s Blog, The Intersection. Read the full piece here: http://www.huntintersection.com/2014/01/23/a-police-chief-retired-general-and-business-ceo-walk-into-a-hearing/