100% College and Career Readiness: A Complete Vision for Students

Posted on September 7, 2012

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Click the play button to learn about this growing, grass-roots vision for students in America

The fact is, there are student populations in the U.S. that have been, and always will be, college and career ready. Most challenges in education do not come from a lack of readiness alone, but from America’s unique gap in college and career readiness. Emphasizing 100% helps us keep focus on what’s really important—that every student becomes college and career ready.

Regardless your view of the Common Core Standards (and my readers are familiar with mine), there is no way around the fact that they’ve arrived, and are in the process of changing American education in some very significant ways.

One of the first changes I’ve noticed, even before the Standards hit schools, is a shift in the kind of language we use to talk about education, especially success in the classroom. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that there’s been a subtle movement over the last few months in the way we speak, away from the language NCLB and toward the Common Core. Rather than holding our students to the standard of “proficiency,” we are beginning to ask them to “master” learning benchmarks. Rather pushing our kids toward “adequate yearly progress,” we are demanding that they become “college and career ready.”

What fantastic goals! I would much rather live in a country full of “mastery ready” young people than “proficiently adequate ones,” wouldn’t you? And after more than a year of watching administrators and teachers implement the Common Core Standards, I’m absolutely convinced that the goals embedded in the language of the Core are possible.

There is one thing, though, that bothers me about “mastery” and “college and career readiness.” Though these phrases define perfectly the vision of student performance in the Standards, they fail to express an aspect of the Common Core that’s every bit as important—the scope of  that performance. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that while the Standards are meant to improve K-12 student performance, they are also designed to help ensure that every student in every classroom receives the same opportunity to become college and career ready.

This is why my colleagues and I at School Improvement Network have attached our own semantic addition to the phrase “college and career readiness.” At our company, we emphasize the complete vision of the Common Core:

100% college and career readiness”: every teacher effective, every student ready.

This is our vision, and our goal. It is a complete iteration of the design of the Common Core, which aims not only to create college and career readiness, but to close the readiness gap as well by establishing a common set of performance standards state-to-state. We print 100% college and career readiness in our ads and on our website, and we have it pasted on everything from t-shirts to hats so the vision takes hold and no one forgets the purpose behind everything we do.

I’ve posted a conversation that I conducted a while ago with Cameron, a member of my team. In it we talk about the origins of our 100% vision, and what it means to education and our children. I hope you take a listen.

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