Guest Column

Core standards hike achievement

October 25, 2013
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After more than a decade of research, state governors came together to finalize a set of common standards outlining what we as parents and citizens should expect every child to know upon graduation from high school.

Known as Common Core, these standards enable students to compete in a global economy because they ensure that each student will be college and career ready.

The State Board of Education adopted these standards in June 2010, and during the last three years, the Michigan Department of Education and our local school districts have worked to implement them.

Let us be clear, Common Core is a set of standards, not a curriculum. The Common Core standards outline the skills and concepts each student needs to learn at each grade level. Local school districts will remain in control of their own curriculum, textbooks, educational materials and instructional methods that meet or exceed the standards.

Both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Senate have heard countless hours of testimony on Common Core and have been actively engaged with all involved parties. This exhaustive engagement and review led to the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 11.

HCR 11 addresses many of the concerns about Common Core including those regarding local control, student privacy and the assessment mechanism to be used.

The Common Core standards are rigorous. They will improve student academic performance by creating clear benchmarks and demanding accountability. The standards focus on core skills in math, reading and writing. They also promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential in today’s economy.

Educators by and large support Common Core standards. Our State Board of Education, our local school boards, our local administrators and teachers all support the standards. Additionally, the business community supports Common Core because businesses, more than most, understand that better standards make better students and those students become better employees. Both the Michigan and Grand Rapids chambers of commerce support Common Core standards for this reason.

We support the continued implementation of the Common Core standards because they set high standards while maintaining local control over curriculum. We have great schools in West Michigan. Embracing Common Core standards will help continue this strong tradition.

Sen. Arlan B. Meekhof, R-West Olive; Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland; Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township; Rep. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville

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