The adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provides a profound opportunity to improve teaching and learning in grades K through 12 so that all students graduate prepared for college and careers.
While New Jersey has had standards for nearly 20 years, their lack of clarity made it difficult for teachers to instruct in a way that ensured all students mastered the goals for each grade level. This resulted in wide achievement gaps between students who sat across the hall, across the state, and across the nation. Even college-bound high school graduates required remedial coursework that cost time and money. Our highestperforming students have fallen farther and farther behind their international peers. The CCSS have the potential to reverse these trends and increase achievement. The standards provide a clearly defined staircase of learning progressions in each grade in mathematics and language arts that focuses on developing students’ ability to read, write, speak, listen, think and solve problems independently. They reflect the knowledge and skill sets most needed by employers, most valued by higher education, and most required for meaningful participation in a democratic society.