Evolving Standards for Student Achievement
Public opinion polls by PDK/Gallup and Education Next, a journal published by the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, reflect a growing opposition to the new academic standards adopted in New Jersey and most states in the nation. Education Week examining the studies reports that “While awareness of the standards jumped in the past year, many U.S. adults have misperceptions that the standards are a federal initiative; support for the standards by teachers is slipping; and there is a steep partisan divide over the common core.”
Interestingly, when the Education Next poll asked half of respondents, chosen randomly, whether they support or oppose the use of the common-core standards, but replaced "common core" with "standards for reading and math that are the same across the states" support for the common core increased to 68 percent from 53 percent.
New Jersey has a long history of developing, reviewing and modifying standards for student achievement. The New Jersey State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in 2010. In July of this year the board adopted the revised Core Curriculum Content Standards and accompanying cumulative progress indicators in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, comprehensive health and physical education, visual and performing arts, world languages, and preschool teaching and learning.
NJASA supports the implementation of the Common Core standards, recognizing that while New Jersey students are among the best educated in the nation that our education system must continue to evolve to prepare our students for the increasingly competitive international world that awaits them following graduation. We join Education Commissioner Hespe and other state organizations at the start of the new school year in working to inform the New Jersey public about the proper role and importance of having internationally competitive standards that promote higher-order thinking, problem solving, and reasoning. We understand that clear, consistent and targeted standards benefit students throughout New Jersey.
While I expect that controversy will linger over the standards (and their assessment) I encourage you to join the conversation with your community about the importance of learning standards and the work of New Jersey’s educators to have our students reach and maintain excellence. It will be a great rallying point for the work of the educators in your district!