Strategic Communication Issues

Communicating Common Core State Standards

Shala Graham - Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In June 2010 a collaborative group of writers released a set of globally competitive K-12 standards in the foundational subjects of English language arts and mathematics. These standards are designed to prepare high school graduates for success in college and make them career ready. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are equal opportunity standards, ensuring that all students—regardless of where they live or their economic status—learn what they need to be successful.

One of the biggest challenges facing educators in the public school arena is communicating CCSS to their myriad audiences. While it is proving to be a challenge to explain the standards—or even why the changes are being made—to superintendents, teachers and principals, talking to parents and students will be even tougher.

The standards are scheduled to make their nationwide debut in the classrooms of 15,000 school districts during the next few years. The complexity of the rollout is huge with curriculum, teacher development and assessment at the core. But parents and students are the consumers of this product and they are not up to speed on the changes or even the “why” of the changes.

In just three to four years, parents and students will see assessments of how well students have accomplished under the new standards. It is likely that more students will score lower than they have under current state tests. We who are “inside baseball” know that the current assessments are not a measure of college and career readiness anyway. Students today are not performing at a college and career level. But we have not been telling them that.

So the task is at hand. If the standards are to meet their promise, we must begin now to talk to parents and students; seek the effective strategies; and communicate with the right messages and brand through the best channels.

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