Recently, the Business Roundtable – a group of more than 200 chief executives from across the country – wrote in support of the continued implementation of Common Core State Standards. These leaders are the latest to come forward from the education and business communities to advocate for these higher standards that will position students to be successful after high school, and economies like Maine’s to benefit from that.
In the letter, John Engler, head of the Roundtable, explained that business leaders see the more rigorous standards as “fundamental to driving the change the U.S. education system desperately needs… As America’s business leaders, we firmly believe that the Common Core State Standards are critical to building and maintaining an American workforce that can compete in the global economy, and we believe their adoption and implementation are inextricably linked to the success of our nation and our children.”
The academic standards were developed collaboratively by the states through a transparent, publicly-inclusive process that was originated not by the federal government but by the bipartisan National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Moreover, standards and curriculum are not the same thing – school districts determine how to teach, with the goal of helping students to meet the commonly developed standards. In Maine, a local control state, that means publicly-elected school boards, superintendents, principals and teachers will continue to be in charge of how teachers teach. They’ll have to get their students to the same understanding of the standards, but how they get them there is for the experts in the classroom to determine.
Maine adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2011 and schools across the state are implementing them in their classrooms this year and next. The first Common Core-aligned tests, through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium of states, or SBAC, will be administered in the spring of 2015. By voluntarily joining with 45 other states, Maine will save money on our assessments, be able to share in professional development and materials for teachers, and put Maine students on a track to graduating high school better prepared to enter college or the workforce. That’s good for them and for our state.
Maine DOE will continue to provide support for Maine teachers around implementing the Common Core, and will be doing more in the coming months to share information about these standards, the Smarter Balanced assessments and the Next Generation Science Standards. We’ll also be providing a toolkit for school districts to help parents and others better understand what the Common Core is and its value to our state’s students and its economy – something we need to be vibrant so our children have opportunities to stay here and thrive when they enter the workforce.
Watch for more updates, improved web pages, and some exciting work with the field connecting the pieces and aligning our K-12 work with higher ed.