[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]he Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices released a set of education standards, the Common Core Standards. These standards in Language Arts and Mathematics for grades K-12 establish clear and consistent goals for learning that CCSSO and NGA Center hope will prepare America’s children for success in college and work. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and professional organization experts who provided feedback on previous drafts.
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell stated in a press release on June 2, 2010 that the standards “will help us improve instruction and student performance by making more focused and explicit the knowledge and skills students need to know as they move up the grades….This clearly defined and well-articulated staircasing of student skills will help accelerate improvement in studentperformanceandclosetheachievement gap.” The State Board of Education adopted the standards on August 2, 2010. More information on CCS is available at www.corestandards.org.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Education Consultants in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) provided comments throughout the development process. Their Policy Statement on CCS is available at www.naeyc.org/ecp/resources. Standards in Language Arts and Mathematics for grades K-12 as well as for preschool-age children are now common throughout the country; more than half of the states also have early learning guidelines for infants and toddlers..
The Policy Statement acknowledges that had the standards begun in fourth grade and thus omitted K-3 standards, there may have been an increased potential for a push-down of academic curriculum from later grades and less assurance of developmentallyappropriatepracticesintheabsence of guidance on reasonable age and grade expectations in kindergarten and the early grades.
Here are a few key points NAEYC and NAECS-SDE made:
- They believed that taken as a whole, the draft standards were fair and age appropriate for kindergarten through third grade.
- They provided language in many instances to assure clarity and appropriate learning progressions.
- They were emphatic that the final document be clarified to assure that the standards should never be used to deny entry to kindergarten or retention in a grade.
- They stressed that the Language Arts and Mathematics standards should not preclude focused attention in classroom practice on other standards for learning.
- They expressed concern throughout the standards development process that the focus on only two content domains could result in the unintended consequence of narrowing curriculum and instructional practice to the detriment of student learning.
- They have urged the addition of social and emotional development as well as approaches to learning as the next necessary areas for high-quality, developmentally and grade appropriate common standards work.
NAEYC and NAECS-SDE affirm that standards—challenging and achievable, appropriate to children’sdevelopment,andaddressingeacharea of children’s interrelated development and learning—are an important component of teaching and learning success for every child. Their joint position stat Early Learning Standards: Creating Conditions for Success, is based on the research of child development and learning and the input of numerous experts and practitioners,states that standards can be a valuable part of a comprehensive, high-quality system of services for young children.
Educators know that there is significant work to be done in regards to the development of comprehensive and appropriate curricula and assessments, professional development for teachers and administrators in effective practice, and resources to ensure that all children have opportunities to meet these challenging and achievable expectations for learning. NAEYC, NAECS-SDE,and CKA are ready to partner together and with others in these efforts to assure the best education for the nation’s young learners.[/author]