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The release of K-12 Common Core State Standards is a boon for students of color

LatinaLista — The U.S. Census reported last month that the national mover rate increased from 11.9 percent in 2008 (a record low rate since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking the data in 1948) to 12.5 percent in 2009.

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The analysis with data from Geographical Mobility: 2009 found that:

Generally, people with incomes below the poverty line were more likely to move than those just above the poverty line.

The black alone population had the highest mover rate (16.7 percent), followed by Hispanics (15.8 percent), Asian alone (13.8 percent) and white alone not Hispanic (10.7 percent).

Thirteen percent of the population who moved relocated to another state. A portion of them were children. Children who had to make new friends in a new school.

If these children were lucky, what they learned back at their old school made for an easy transition into their new classes. Yet, chances are that’s not the case.

Each state requires the children in their schools to learn a new curriculum that has been tailored to meet those state requirements. It’s been a long-held practice and a frustrating one for children from out of state who sometimes find themselves academically behind their peers and have to make up with either extra classes or worse, be put back a grade; for teachers who find a new student to be on target in everything else but the academics; and for parents who have to soothe the frayed nerves of a child already stressed out over a move to a new place.

It has always made sense that one country should have one set of common academic standards.

That day has arrived in the United States.

Today, the Common Core State Standards for English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12 was released by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The year-long process to craft the standards was led by governors and chief state school officers from 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia who formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative. During the process, there was criticism and fear levied at adopting such standards but several points are made clear by initiative members:

The Standards are designed to build upon the most advanced current thinking about preparing all students for success in college and their careers. This will result in moving even the best state standards to the next level. In fact, since this work began, there has been an explicit agreement that no state would lower its standards.

International benchmarking played a significant role in both sets of standards.

Reading: The standards establish a “staircase” of increasing complexity in what students must be able to read so that all students are ready for the demands of college- and career-level reading no later than the end of high school.

Math: The standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels – rather than the current practices by which many students learn enough to get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review again the following year.

In a conference call with representatives from ACT, the college readiness testing service and partner in supporting the Common Core Standards, Scott Gomer, ACT media relations representative, said that the core standards initiative was unique in that it had never been done before.

Gomer also said that the standards allow states leeway in implementing them in their state curriculums — 85% of instruction must follow the Common Core State Standards with 15% from their state standards.

The main mission of having the Common Core State Standards is to ensure that all children are learning the same thing and acquiring the same skills they all need to succeed in life beyond high school.

With blacks and Latinos having the two highest rates of relocating, a set of common core standards assures that kids at the highest risk of dropping out of school can maintain their confidence when it comes to being on the same academic level as their peers.

Now that the standards have been released, each state will follow its own procedures and processes for adopting them — and finally leveling the academic playing field for every student.

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