News Release from AASCU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2010-12-29

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AASCU PARTNERS WITH EDUCATION LEADERSHIP GROUPS TO IMPLEMENT COMMON CORE STANDARDS

 Collaboration among P-12 and higher education leaders is the key to effective state implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics. With this strategy as the foundation for an agreement, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities is partnering with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) to promote broad implementation and utilization of the CCSS.

The Common Core State Standards, academic standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts for kindergarten through 12th grade, were developed by the CCSSO and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and have been formally adopted by more than 40 states and territories.

These new academic standards are designed to help students be college- and career-ready by the end of the 12th grade. The new standards were developed with the realization that the multiplicity of state approaches to standards and assessments in mathematics and English did not adequately prepare students for the challenges of the postsecondary classroom or the workforce. 

“Ensuring students have a seamless transition from high school to college will require close collaboration between chief state school officers and higher education leaders,” said Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the CCSSO. “The overriding objective of this partnership is to develop deeper, more authentic partnerships between K-12 schools and the colleges and universities who enroll their graduates and prepare teachers and school leaders.”

The three organizations noted in their agreement that at the local as well as state levels, the involvement of postsecondary faculty, academic leaders, and policy makers will be essential for successful implementation and long-term sustainability of the CCSS. Success will require P-12 and higher education institutional and statewide policy changes in areas such as admission and placement criteria, in-service and pre-service teacher education, and other areas directly related to the Common Core State Standards. AASCU President Muriel Howard said that “without extensive and deep postsecondary involvement, wide implementation of more uniform and transparent P-12 standards is less likely, and high school graduation requirements are likely to continue to fall short of broadly held expectations for college and workforce readiness.

“AASCU institutions are deeply connected to their communities and we have great opportunities to engage with local education leaders. We are committed to making the implementation of Common Core State Standards successful; our success in preparing students for global competition depends on it,” she said.

The AASCU/CCSSO/SHEEO partnership will focus on four major areas of work: facilitating meaningful dialogue on implementing CCSS among state and local education leaders; identifying strategies to improve college readiness; working with in-service high school teachers to identify and address existing problem areas in preparing high school graduates to be ready for college-level work; and incorporating the new common core standards across teacher preparation programs. 

Paul Lingenfelter, president of SHEEO, observed, “This is an important partnership because state policy and the success of schools and colleges and universities are so interconnected. State higher education executives and chief state school officers must work together to improve policies affecting teacher preparation and in-service education, especially given the opportunities presented by clearer standards and the promise of better assessments. This initiative provides fresh opportunities for faculty and teacher leaders in schools to learn from each other and collaborate to improve student success.”

The AASCU/CCSSO/SHEEO partnership will be led by a Steering Committee consisting of five representatives from each association charged with designing strategies to foster the successful implementation of the standards in states and local communities.  Over the next two years, the associations intend to provide opportunities for all of their members to be involved in and benefit from this initiative.

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AASCU is the leadership association of 420 public colleges and universities Delivering America’s Promise through their common commitments to access, affordability and educational opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students, these institutions fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their state.