The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

November 23, 2013

Explaining what is the Common Core?

The Iowa Core represents a set of standards that have been vetted and customized by Iowans and for Iowa.

Iowa was the last state in the nation to adopt statewide standards in 2008. State legislators led this shift away from locally determined standards, which had caused inconsistent expectations in schools across the state. Iowa educators identified and wrote the essential concepts and skills that make up the Iowa Core.

As the state worked to develop and implement the Iowa Core, a consortium of states across the nation formed to develop common standards for English language arts and math. These are called the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards build on the best academic standards states have developed and the academic standards of top-performing school systems around the globe. The Common Core grew out of a desire to make sure teachers and parents share high academic expectations for children so they can succeed. Most states have voluntarily adopted the Common Core.

In Iowa, the State Board of Education in 2010 voted to blend the Iowa Core with the Common Core State Standards. Each state had the option of including up to 15 percent of their own state standards. Iowa did choose to add some standards, but not the full 15 percent.

Together these Iowa Standards and the Common Core Standards equal the Iowa Core. This decision was easy since the Iowa Core was already similar to the Common Core but embodied higher academic standards. The goal of the Iowa Core is to make sure all districts implement rigorous and comprehensive state academic standards, giving each student the best chance to be ready for college or career training after high school. We owe it to our students to give them a world-class education.

The Iowa Core is the most rigorous and well researched set of standards that have ever been implemented across the state of Iowa. The goal of educators in Iowa should be to continually improve these standards and to work with all stakeholders to help make the Iowa Core one of the tools that opens doors for our graduates, and contribute to economic vitality of the entire state.

William J. Decker, chief administrator, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency

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

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