The United States was originally not so united when 13 colonies defeated a powerful British army to secure our independence. As all states are responsible for educating their citizenry, we now have a 50-headed monster that has no chance against determined emerging superpowers like China and India who have more honor students than we have students.
Fortunately, there is a new conversation in the nation that brings to bear deep empirical research on college and workforce readiness. National groups like ACT, Achieve and College Board have brought their research to the table, in partnership with states like Indiana, to help drive a new set of common standards for college and workforce readiness (Common Core Standards).
Let’s examine the difference in the development of these standards in very simple terms.
These national groups have tracked successful students through college and into the workforce. Then they worked backward to identify what these students learned in school to help them succeed.
Moreover, College Board and ACT have developed tests, beginning in middle school through the college transition process, to help students, parents, educators, business leaders and policy makers understand and demonstrate college and workforce readiness.
As the former principal of Crown Point High School, the state’s 13th largest high school, we moved to national college and workforce readiness standards in 2008 because our students deserved to compete on the national stage. We were able to compare our school performance routinely with a cohort of 100,000 students across the country in schools that looked like ours.
Our students were all taking college entrance and workforce readiness exams during the school day, which provided all students and families opportunities for college and workforce entrance and scholarships.
Many schools in Northwest Indiana have embraced this vision with an initiative called Ready NWI.
School districts, in partnership with business and higher education, are now administering nationally recognized college and workforce exams from middle school to high school. They are doing this work on top of our state testing expectations because maximum growth on college and workforce readiness is the only way we will produce the workforce of tomorrow and grow our economy.
It is imperative that Indiana continues to embrace the Common Core Standards and a vision to measure maximum growth for college and workforce transitions that is internationally recognized.
Our kids and communities across the state deserve this opportunity to compete on the national and international stage.