State Standards

Illinois Rep. Roger Eddy, a school district superintendent, told policymakers that it’s easy for a canoe to turn into a yacht. He was speaking at the Common Core State Standards Policy Roundtable on Dec. 6 at CSG’s 2010 National Meeting in Providence, R.I.

Getting a handle on the nation's graduation rate has been difficult because states use different criteria to measure the percentage of students leaving high school with a diploma. However, starting this year, new federal guidelines will require states to use a unified definition and to set graduation rate targets.

So how does America compete in the global marketplace when its students are performing at about the same level—or worse—as former Soviet bloc nations on international tests? One possible answer getting a lot of play nationally is Common Core State Standards.  Led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, experts from across the country came together the past two years to develop a common set of standards in mathematics and English language arts. Although common core standards were attempted at the federal level in the 1990s and failed, this project is led by the states. Forty-eight states (all except for Alaska  and Texas) and Washington, D.C., signed on to work on the standards; so far, 35 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted them.

An overriding question concerning adoption of common core state standards has apparently been answered by an education think tank. One recurring question many policymakers have asked has been whether common core state standards, which would create uniform standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, would be superior to existing state standards.

The CSG Education Policy Team held a Common Core State Standards Policy Roundtable in Bloomington, Ill., today. The meeting was attended by State Superintendent Christopher Koch, Deputy Superintendent Susie Morrison, Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Smith from Gov. Pat Quinn's office and Jeff Mays, president of the Illinois Business Roundtable. We also had several members from higher education, PTA, the Urban League and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Also attending were Rep. Roger Eddy - who is Superintendent of Hutsonville Schools - Representative Jerry Mitchell and Rep. Dan Brady.

The education policy team at CSG held the Common Core State Standards Policy Roundtable in Sacramento yesterday, July 20. The meeting was held in conjunction with the California Department of Education and funded with generous educational support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages state    policymakers to gain information about the common core state standards, increase their awareness on what implications the standards have for their state and ensure collaboration with their state Board of Education and state-level department of instruction as the initiative unfolds.                             

About 85 percent of West Virginia’s eighth grade students taking the state’s end-of-year test for reading skills scored at or above a proficient level in 2007. That’s one of the nation’s highest rates for reading proficiency, and would seem to indicate the state’s schools are doing a good job preparing students for college or a career.
State eNews Issue #43 | March 31, 2010

Ensuring our nation’s youth are prepared for college or a career is one of the top concerns of state policymakers. The Council of State Governments is taking the lead in educating key state policymakers about a new state-led education movement—the Common Core State Standards Initiative—that may help states reach that goal.

Fewer than a third of America’s eighth-grade public school students meet the national standard for reading proficiency for their grade level.  This report examines policies to improve adolescent reading skills.