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. 

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