Getting on the Same Page
Another game-changer in education reform has been the development of Common Core State Standards by 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia. Tennessee used the standards to develop its current standardized test, the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, which has been used the past two school years. Before Common Core, each state had its own process for developing and implementing standards, which caused inconsistencies between each student’s opportunity to learn.
“When you left it up to the states to do it, you had a variable game—from a very low bar to a very high bar depending on what state you were in,” says Cash, who admits Tennessee had set one of the lowest bars for education standards in the country before they adopted the CCSS. “We didn’t give our children and families a fair indication of how they measure up against national competition let alone international competition. You can’t have such variation across the states and expect to stay competitive.”
The new standards, whose development was spearheaded by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, will increase the rigor of both the English and mathematics taught from kindergarten through high school across America and align everyone’s expectations about what students should be learning and what teachers should be teaching. States receive points toward the Race to the Top competition if they have adopted the common standards.
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