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     The process of developing new K-12 standards for Illinois is moving ahead. Last year, the State of Illinois participated in launching the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Fifty-one states and territories are part of the process.

     In September, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the first official public draft of the college- and career-readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The group is now working back from those standards to develop K-12 standards that will allow students to achieve the college and career readiness standards by the 12th grade.

     These standards are intended to set the stage for education in the United States for the next decade, and the goal is that they be rigorous and internationally benchmarked – meaning they are informed by the content, rigor and organization of standards of high performing countries – to “ensure all American students are prepared for the global economic workplace.”

      “The goals of the Common Core Initiative are to develop fewer, clearer and higher standards that are critical for student success,” said Christopher A. Koch, Illinois State Superintendent of Education, in his weekly message dated Sept. 28. “They are to be evidence-based and internationally benchmarked standards that are inclusive of all learners, incorporating 21st-century skills. … Ultimately, the Common Core standards will lead to shared assessments among states to be used on a voluntary basis.”

     While there would be common standards, Mr. Koch said, “Curriculum would still need to be developed locally, with input from administrators and teachers that would allow for multiple strategies to best educate all children.”

The draft college and career-readiness standards may be viewed at www.corestandards.org.