The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 2, 2013

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why the Iowa Core is needed

Clinton Herald

CLINTON — Iowa is preparing a population of students for a future that we can’t predict. Students are entering the workforce and college programs unprepared for the demands that it takes to be a productive, successful, contributing citizen.

The Common Core (Iowa Core) State Standards were designed explicitly as a staircase in K-12 to college and career readiness. Many U.S. students — even those who pass their high school courses and their high school exit exams — still face remediation when they get to college because they are not prepared for entry-level college coursework.

A 2008 study by ACT showed that only 1 in 10 eighth-graders are on target to be ready for college-level work by the time they graduate from high school, and only 35 percent of U.S. 12th-graders scored at or above the “proficient” level on the NAEP reading test in 2005. Furthermore, research shows that remediation is a trap from which many students don’t escape; the overwhelming majority of students who take remedial courses never complete college. The Common Core (Iowa Core) State Standards form a staircase to prepare students to be successful in college and their chosen career. If students successfully climb the staircase from kindergarten to 12th grade, they will then be truly ready for the demands that

The standards are:

Internationally Benchmarked

The Common Core State Standards incorporate the best of state standards in the United States and are internationally benchmarked to the world’s top-performing nations.

Real-World Ready

The Common Core State Standards emphasize complex, real-world skills rather than basic skills. This is critical in a knowledge-driven economy that demands problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking both in careers and in personal decisions.

Clear and Consistent

The standards serve as a roadmap of academic expectations that provide students, parents, and teachers with a clear, common understanding of what should be learned at every grade level. Having this roadmap allows students, parents and teachers to work together toward shared goals.

William J. Decker, Chief Administrator, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency                             

Nicole Peterson, Head of Staff Development, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency