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On March 10, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers released a public draft of new K-12 learning standards as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. In preparing these standards – which lay out year-by-year what children should learn in math and English language arts – educators worked back from draft college- and career-readiness standards that were issued in September 2009. The college- and career-readiness standards define the skills students need to succeed in “college entry courses and in workforce training programs.”  

“We are pleased to release the K-12 standards today and to begin reviewing comments from the public,” said Dane Linn, director of the NGA Center’s Education Division. “These standards build upon the goals articulated in the college- and career-readiness standards released last year and will ensure our students are prepared to compete and succeed in a global economy.”  

In June 2009, Illinois joined 48 other states and territories to develop common learning standards as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. In its Race to the Top application for federal funds filed in January, Illinois committed to work with the coalition of states to develop not only common core learning standards, but also to “develop and implement common, high-quality assessments aligned with the Common Core K-12 standards.” These new assessments would likely replace the Illinois Standard Achievement Test and the Prairie State Achievement Test. 

School Districts 65 and 202 each agreed in a memorandum of understanding filed with the State in January to support the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments, and they also agree to align their curriculum to the new learning standards and to implement the new assessments.