The State Board of Education voted 6-0 on July 29, 2010 to adopt the Common Core State Standards as part of the Iowa Core.
"We live in a global society that is more complex," said State Board of Education President Rosie Hussey. "We want our students to not only be competitive in our own state, but in the nation and the world. There is a sense of urgency in our state to address this new environment and enhance education to ensure our students are successful in college and the workforce. This is the right step toward making that happen."
The Common Core State Standards Initiative was a voluntary state-led effort to develop common expectations among the states for what students should learn from kindergarten through high school. The standards cover the areas of English language arts and mathematics. It helps students and parents by setting clear and realistic goals for success. It also lays out the knowledge and skills students should have so that teachers can locally build the best lessons and environments for their classrooms.
The board approved the Common Core standards as part of the Iowa Core. Signed into law in 2008, the Iowa Core was originally called a curriculum, but is not a set of courses or specific classroom instruction like a traditional curriculum. What the Iowa Core does is identifies essential skills and concepts that kindergarten through 12th grade students must learn in literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and 21st century skills. In addition, it offers professional development for teachers to assist them in enhancing instruction. The Iowa Core provides greater detail to the state's standards, which were approved in 2007 for No Child Left Behind accountability in reading, math, and science. All Iowa school districts and accredited nonpublic schools are required to implement the Iowa Core by 2014-2015.
"Many Iowa schools will begin this year to dig deep into the work of comparing the Iowa Core to their local curriculum to see how they are aligned," said Iowa Department of Education Acting Director Kevin Fangman. "So it is an opportune time for the inclusion of the Common Core standards into the Iowa Core. This way, Iowa schools will have one document to work from as they move forward in their work to implement the Iowa Core."
In July, the Iowa Department of Education conducted a formal alignment study-or comparison-of both the Common Core and the Iowa Core. The process used was developed by Achieve, an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C., to examine the alignment of the Iowa Core with the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics. The study results show a high level of correspondence between the Iowa Core to the Common Core.
In adopting the Common Core, states have the option to add to the national standards. Iowa will likely do this to include the areas that are in the Iowa Core that are not in the Common Core.
Parents, teachers, school administrators, and experts from across the country together with state leaders, through their membership in the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) led the effort to develop the Common Core standards. The federal government was not involved in the development of the standards. During the winter of 2009, writers of the Common Core standards came to Iowa to review the work on the Iowa Core and to gather input on initial drafts of the Common Core. The Common Core was finalized by CCSSO and the NGA Center on June 2, 2010.
The Common Core standards are:
- Aligned with expectations for college and career success;
- Built upon strengths and lessons of current state standards and standards of top-performing nations;
- Informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Evidence- and research-based.
For more information on:
- the Iowa Core/Common Core Alignment Study, click here.
- the Common Core State Standards Initiative, click here.
- Common Core State Standards and Iowa Fact Sheet