We are pleased to see that Gov. Brewer has prioritized resources for the implementation of Arizona’s Common Core Standards in her fiscal year 2014 budget.
Ensuring our students are prepared to succeed in college, career and life is the most important decision Arizona can make for our state’s economic future and our individual quality of life.
In 2010, Arizona voluntarily adopted the Common Core Standards in English and mathematics, which are more rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards that will help move our state closer to a world-class education system. Resources for implementation of the new standards must be a top priority in the states FY14 budget if we want educators and students to success in meeting world-class expectations.
Right now, too many of Arizona’s students are not reaching their full potential. Only half of our high school graduates qualify to enroll in a state university and the majority of students enrolling in community college are taking remedial coursework. In today’s world, where an estimated 85 percent of high growth, high wage jobs will require post-secondary education, we must do better.
An investment in transforming Arizona’s educational outcomes today is a downpayment on our economic future. Arizona’s Common Core Standards and assessments will enable educators to hold the same high expectations for all Arizona students, regardless of their zip code. If implemented successfully, the result will be globally competitive students anda robust workforce that is ready to enter the workforce and fuel the economic growth of our state and all of our individual quality of life.
Arizona’s Common Core Standards will require new methods of teaching that lead students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers with higher levels of subject mastery. Our teachers will need additional training to adopt more innovative instructional methods and deepen their content knowledge. Resources for implementation of the new standards must be a top priority for the legislature if we want educators and students to succeed in meeting world–class expectations.
Additionally, outdated textbooks and lesson plans won’t suffice. We will need to fund soft capital for textbooks, curricula, and other essential teaching tools, including technology. In 2014-2015, Arizona will transition from the AIMS test to a new, online assessment. Schools will need the devices and broadband capacity to deliver these new tests. An investment in these 21st century assessments is essential to ensure we have graduates who are 21st century ready.
All students in Arizona deserve a world-class education. We can and must expect this for all of our students. Join Expect More Arizona in supporting a strategic investment in this year’s state budget for the implementation of the Common Core Standards and assessments. Doing so is critical to transform life prospects for Arizona’s students and to build a world-class education system of which we can be proud.
Pearl Chang Esau is President and CEO of Expect More Arizona, a non-partisan, education advocacy organization working to build a world-class education for all Arizona students.