Five Reasons Why A+ Supports the College and Career Ready Initiative

Tomorrow, the State Board of Education faces a critical vote on the fate of the Alabama College and Career Ready Initiative. This initiative is based on the Common Core State Standards, which have already been formally adopted by 45 states including Alabama. Thursday’s vote, however, may rescind or delay Alabama’s adoption of this important program.

Here are Our Top 5 Reasons to Support the College and Career Ready Initiative:

1. The College and Career Ready standards ensure that Alabama’s high school graduates are ready for the future.

The new standards are aligned directly to college and career expectations so that each student graduates college-ready and workplace-ready, no matter what path he or she chooses. These rigorous standards also help our students remain globally competitive. Each of the standards have been internationally-benchmarked against the standards of other nations to ensure that Alabama’s students graduate with the skills necessary to achieve in today’s global economy.

2. The new standards raise the bar for Alabama’s students.

It is true that Alabama’s previous standards aligned more than 90% with the standards in the new College and Career Ready Initiative. However, the new standards organize topics in a way that dramatically improves student comprehension and learning.

The new standards are sequenced to create a progression of ideas, where students build upon information from other subjects and earlier lessons to engage in more complex problem-solving. The organization of the new standards:

– Links lessons across subject areas to promote a deeper understanding of the material
– Aims to achieve fluency in math – the ability to perform calculations and solve problems quickly and accurately – as opposed to just proficiency
– Promotes higher-order thinking – like problem solving, reasoning, and decisionmaking – over memorization
– Includes literacy standards for science, social studies, and technical subjects to improve reading throughout the entire school day

3. Adoption of the new standards will help Alabama attract and keep big businesses in the state.

More than 150 large corporations and organizations have formally endorsed the Common Core State Standards. The list of supporters includes Dell Computers, Microsoft, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. By adopting these standards, Alabama will send a message that we hold our students to the same standards as high-performing states and countries, and that we’re on an uptrend in education. Our adoption of standards based on the Common Core State Standards will help to break down negative stereotypes of Alabama and will help our future efforts to attract big employers to the state.

4. The new standards help our military families.

As part of the Common Core, the College and Career Ready Initiative is particularly helpful for military families and other families that are forced to move often. Under our old system, students that change schools may be forced to study material they have already mastered. Worse, they may entirely miss important foundational material needed to develop later skills. The Common Core solves this problem by creating a shared learning sequence common to all public schools across the nation. Because of this, the Military Child Education Coalition has endorsed and strongly supports the Common Core State Standards.

5. The new standards were created by the states, for the states.

The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed the Common Core State Standards to help the states take back control of education from the U.S. Department of Education. The standards were created with input from over 10,000 stakeholders, including educators, content experts, and higher education faculty. This state-led movement is an excellent example of federalism at work.

For an in-depth look at the Alabama College and Career Ready Initiative standards, view the Courses of Study for Mathematics and English language Arts on the Alabama State Department of Education’s website. To learn more about Thursday’s vote, check out this editorial in today’s Tuscaloosa News.