RESOLUTION TO URGE CONTINUED IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
WHEREAS, education “standards” define expectations of what students should know at the conclusion of a course of study. Standards do not dictate curriculum or prescribe a particular method of instruction. The adoption of particular standards is made at the state level. One of the core pieces of Tennessee’s work to improve public education has been to raise the rigor of Tennessee’s academic standards. The goal has been to implement higher standards that better prepare students for the work force or college.
WHEREAS, in 2007, public education in Tennessee was faced with a stark reality. That year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave Tennessee an “F” in “Truth in Advertising”, a rating based on our state’s ability to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to compete in the modern workforce. In addition, many Tennesseans were increasingly concerned about the high number of students who were entering college unprepared, unable to maintain a passing GPA, and struggling to graduate.
WHEREAS, to address these challenges, Tennessee’s Governor and the Tennessee General Assembly took the bold step of pushing for increased accountability in public education by raising academic standards in the classroom. That same year, more than 130 business leaders from across the state worked with the Governor and key legislators, through a serious of regional meetings across the state, to outline a vision for public education in the future, a vision focused on making sure students graduate high school ready for the future.
WHEREAS, in 2008, the State Board of Education formalized this vision by raising academic standards in classrooms across Tennessee through an effort called the Tennessee Diploma Project. The Diploma Project set higher expectations for what students should know and be able to do in school and in life.
WHEREAS, at the same time, Tennessee was helping to lead a new conversation with governors and state commissioners of education from across the country about how we could continue to build on our work to raise academic standards. The idea was that the expectations for college and the workforce should be the same from state to state instead of having lower expectations in Tennessee.
WHEREAS, a new set of standards emerged out of this state-led effort, coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, called the Common Core State Standards. Tennesseans played an important role in the development of the new standards, and teachers and parents from Tennessee provided feedback on the standards before they were adopted by the State Board of Education. These standards were adopted in July 2010.
WHEREAS, Common Core State Standards emphasize real world skills in math, reading and writing along with critical thinking and problem solving skills that better prepare students for college, for work and for being more informed citizens. The standards also ensure that students have a deep understanding of
rigorous material instead of focusing on rote memorization and test-taking skills. Common Core State Standards represent a remarkable advance in academic rigor and content, ensuring that students graduate from high school better prepared for the future.
WHEREAS, Tennessee is in its third year of implementation of Common Core State Standards and, along with other education reform efforts, these standards are a part of the tremendous academic gains made by students over the last three years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress ( NAEP).
WHEREAS, Tennessee, while being recognized by NAEP as the nation’s fastest-improving state for student achievement, still ranks below the average on the Nation’s Report Card and our students remain below the national average on proficiency in English and math.
WHEREAS, for Tennessee to continue to improve it is necessary to continue the reforms that helped bring about this result and to accurately measure such achievement through quality assessment. Tennessee plays a leading role in the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) and its governance which allows our educators to accurately measure whether students have mastered the course knowledge and can apply it.
WHEREAS, now is not the time to abandon the reforms and strategies that are starting to show real, measureable positive results and to do so may relegate an entire generation to missing out on opportunities to achieve economic success for themselves and their families.
WHEREAS, Tennessee’s students are not less intelligent or otherwise gifted than those in other states. Tennessee’s students will rise to the level we expect of them. We must not fail them by expecting less than what they will need in order to be successful in life and in work.
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, a member of SCORE’s (the State Collaboration on Reforming Education) “Expect More, Achieve More” (EMAM) coalition, endorses and supports EMAM’s “Stay the Course” campaign and would encourage all businesses to join in and support EMAM , local education leaders and teachers in this important issue.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Tennessee Business Roundtable endorses the principles and goals of the Common Core State Standards as adopted, the corresponding PARCC assessment and strongly recommends that no action be taken to delay, impede or alter the scheduled implementation of either these Standards or PARCC in Tennessee’s public education system.
Dated this the 26th day of February, 2014.
By adoption of the Board of Directors
Gary Shorb, Board President