Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Benefits of Common Core to the Silicon Valley and Bay Area

Benefits of Common Core to the Silicon Valley and Bay Area

A thriving and productive community-based education system is a critical component to the success of any modern day society. It is entrepreneurial life blood and sustenance to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. We are driven by innovation based upon education, creativity and technology. The current California state standards were not adequately preparing our students for the global economy, the power of today’s technology and the modern workforce. The previous standards, although better than many other states, were challenged and archaic in delivering the ingenuity, critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to sustain or grow one of world’s largest economies. Many benefits of the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley schools will be realized through collaboration.

  • Philanthropic organizations are rallying its donors, business constituents and community leaders to assist in providing education leadership with both tactical and strategic insight.
  • Fortune 500 companies such as Chevron, McKesson, Google, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, PG&E, Oracle, HP, FaceBook, Wells Fargo, Intel, Cisco, Xerox, SanDisk, and Yahoo are either strengthening or reestablishing ties to their local education community by providing equipment, volunteers, monetary donations and developing internship programs.
  • Schools and teachers are adopting real-world project based lesson plans and ideas that solve real-world challenges and tie together core subjects (math, reading and writing) with context subjects (science, social studies, history, creative arts and sports).
  • Local Chambers of Commerce are also actively participating by involving their business members with school districts and local school activities.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Business Case For Common Core State Standards

In a brief called The Business Case for Common Core, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce states the following about English Language Arts/Literacy Standards and Math standards:
The English Language Arts/Literacy standards challenge students to read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter across academic disciplines. Not only do the standards ask students to focus on reading, writing, and speaking through drawing evidence from text, they require regular practice with complex text and academic language. This includes a greater emphasis on building knowledge and communication skills by focusing on non-fiction texts, more similar to those they will need to read and understand in the workplace one day. Raising the bar for reading and writing skills across subjects such as history and science, better prepares students for future work or study after high school.

The Math standards focus on math making sense. The study of mathematics is not about memorizing a disconnected list of tricks. Students must develop reasoning skills with principles. To accomplish this, the standards create areas of strong focus in each grade which are built on in subsequent years through a coherent sequence. Greater mastery of a smaller set of prerequisites allows students to build on their knowledge and reason to solve substantial problems, instead of having a shallow exposure to a vast number of topics. The rigor of the standards demand not only conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, but an equal focus on the application of mathematical knowledge to prepare students for problem solving outside of the classroom.

 Strands of the Common Core State Standards
While a core emphasis of Common Core State Standards is increased proficiency in English Language Arts and Math, the strands of standard have important skill building, critical thinking and communication implications, including:
·         Follow agreed upon rules of engagement for discussion.
·         Ask questions and state facts in group discussion to check understanding and provide quality discussion input.
·         Written and verbal proof of concept and mastery.
·         Written and verbal communication of own ideas.
·         Perform research to secure additional resource materials outside of class
U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Business Roundtable Leadership
Both Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, have restated these well-publicized statements:
“Among the 34 leading industrialized countries, the United States ranks 14th in reading literacy, 17th in science and a dismal 25th in math. It should surprise no one that we've fallen from No. 1 in the world in the percentage of young adults with college degrees to No. 10.”
“The jobs of the 21st century are also becoming more specialized and technical. In fact, there are 3 million jobs going unfilled in this country because there aren't enough qualified candidates.”
 “Ninety percent of the jobs in the fastest-growing occupations require postsecondary education and training. And by 2020, there will be 120 million high-skilled and high wage jobs. If we don't have the workers to fill them, we will risk our economic leadership in the world.”

The Bay Area and Silicon Valley know these facts all too well. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

What are the Common Core State Standards?

What are the Common Core State Standards?
Simply stated, the Common Core State Standards is a U.S. education initiative with both short and long term goals, including:
·         Creating a uniform, internationally competitive academic standard for all students in the U.S.
·         Ensuring individual state academic standards are aligned, leveraging the Information Age and 24/7 access to technology.
·         Increasing international competitiveness and the economic prosperity of America.

The purpose of the Common Core State Standards is to facilitate the return of the United States to global academic leadership, fulfill domestic technical employment opportunities, insource jobs by producing a superior workforce, better leverage colonization of other countries and better leverage the information age resources.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The American Education Revolution (How Common Core State Standards will be beneficial to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley pt2)

Now the term “revolution” has several definitions which all stem from a rebellious type of change of direction. They are part of our United States DNA and culture. Revolutions are both needed and unwanted. Revolutions are time consuming, unpredictable and difficult. There are casualties and gains on both sides. There are always opportunities for compromise. The American Education Revolution has been sparked by the rebellion of the American people and its commerce leaders against subpar U.S. academic performance domestically and abroad.

Research indicates:

  1. Academic leadership in the U.S. has decreased in comparison to our international counterparts, as measured by test scores, university rankings and language acquisition abilities.
  2. U.S. based technical employment opportunities are outsourced and U.S. companies regularly colonized other countries as a result of an inferior U.S. workforce.
  3. The nationwide transition from the agrarian/industrial age to the information age has been extremely slow.
Did You Know? 

        Early in U.S. history, education initiatives were left up to individual states, communities, businesses, land proprietors and local religious denominations. For some, this model was successful from its inception and continues to be so today. For others, this model has been highly volatile, laden with spikes and valleys of moderate success. In addition to factors of self-governance, regional success and volatility, there was not a standard baseline of uniformity. As the ability for interstate travel, collaboration and commerce increased, academic disparities increased as well. Today, the disparity between the successful academic systems and unsuccessful ones is far too great. This disparity has both domestic and international implications.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Common Core State Standards will be beneficial to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley

As I travel the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley informing students, parents, teachers, business professionals, community leaders and clergy about the implications and opportunities that accompany the controversial move to the Common Core State Standards, I feel a bit like Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride, when he was commissioned to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock about British troop activity. While many historians have suggested that Paul Revere did not actually shout “The British are Coming!,” he was known as a family man, business man, compassionate patriot and messenger in the American Revolution. I am also a family man, business man, compassionate patriot and messenger for a different type of revolution; the American Education Revolution. The American Education Revolution is being further fueled by the passage, adoption and ongoing implementation of the Common Core State Standards.........