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The Business Case for Common Core Standards

Companies and business entities around the country are coming out in droves to support the much-debated Common Core State Standards, citing a pathway to restoring the United States’ educational and economic preeminence as the driving factor.

Recently, the Business Roundtable, a group of more than 200 chief executives from across the country, wrote an open letter in support of the continued implementation of the educational reform initiative. These leaders are the latest to come forward from the education and business communities to advocate for these higher standards that will position students to be successful after high school; and economies like Georgia’s to directly reap the benefits of having highly skilled graduates who can be the entrepreneurs, innovators and investors in the workforce.

In the letter, John Engler, head of the Roundtable, explained that business leaders see the more rigorous standards as “fundamental to driving the change the U.S. education system desperately needs … as America’s business leaders, we firmly believe that the Common Core State Standards are critical to building and maintaining an American workforce that can compete in the global economy, and we believe their adoption and implementation are inextricably linked to the success of our nation and our children.”

In another vote of confidence, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and more than 60 other companies like Dell, Aetna and Microsoft weighed in:

“As companies and business organizations, we believe that it is imperative that ALL American students have access to an education that will prepare them for the opportunities and challenges they will face after high school. In a competitive world economy where education and/or training after high school is increasingly the norm for access to good jobs, to prepare students for anything less is, by definition, to deny opportunity.”

The elevated academic standards were developed collaboratively by the states through a transparent, publicly inclusive process that was originated by the bipartisan National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Georgia was one of the first states in 2010 to formally adopt these new standards when then Governor Sonny Perdue served as the NGA’s initiative co-chairman.

Previously, each state set its own standards, leading to a nation with 50 sets of inconsistent benchmarks, even though the expectations of colleges and employers in “core subjects” like math and English are nearly universal and are not bound by state lines.

As a remedy, Common Core proponents predict:

Consistency across the country. Common standards mean that Georgia students are learning the same content and skills as students from around the nation in the subject areas of English, Language Arts and Math. This places everyone on an even playing field and eases transitions between states.

Global competitiveness. The Common Core standards are aligned to international standards from the highest achieving countries.

Students will be well prepared to compete both nationally and internationally.

Homegrown talent. Rigorous, national standards will help each state produce local, homegrown talent to meet the needs of the rapidly changing workplace.

21st century skills for 21st century jobs. The Common Core Standards are designed to prepare students to compete in and contribute to the 21st century, global economy. These standards will help produce graduates ready for the jobs of the present and future.

College and career ready standards for all. Because students need high level literacy and math skills whether they plan to go to college or directly into a job or workforce training, these standards are designed to prepare students for success in whatever they choose to do after graduation.

Focus on real world skills. What students learn in school should be directly related to what they’ll be required to do once they leave school. The Common Core Standards emphasize reading informational and technical texts to prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace.

According to Dana Rickman, director of policy and research for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia is poised to add 1.5 million new jobs by 2020.

“Of these new jobs, nearly 60 percent will require some sort of education beyond high school. Currently, only about 42 percent of Georgia’s adult population meets that requirement. The skill level of Georgia’s workforce does not currently meet the growing needs of a successful economic development plan. A strong educational system is a necessary component to support the state’s economic vision, and strong standards are the cornerstone of that system.”

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