What Are the Common Core Standards?
The Common Core Standards (CCS) are the product of a state-led effort to create a clear, consistent framework for education. They are designed to help students achieve on a broad scale. Why is this important? Instead of educational standards being determined state-by-state, the CCS provide consistency, so that a child’s district will no longer determine his or her education. Children in Florida will be learning the same material at the same time as children in California, and changing school systems will no longer set students back or put them ahead; they will still be right on target. The CCS provide a framework that eliminates gaps in education and progresses like a staircase—students keep moving up to more and more complex texts and ideas, but in a smooth progression. The end goal of the CCS is to prepare students for college and the work force. The CCS also prepares students to participate in the global economy/society.
Who Developed the CCS?
The research for these standards, and the development of them, was coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Teachers, school administrators, and other experts also contributed to the development of the CCS.
Why Should School Library Media Specialists and Public Librarians Take Interest in the CCS?
44 states have already adopted the Common Core Standards, and most librarians hired in the next few years will have to align their media centers to these standards. Alignment with the CCS shows that the library media center contributes to the mission of the school, and that the school’s goals are the library media center’s goals. Public librarians who serve youth should also be aware of the CCS in order to provide more effective and helpful homework assistance. Public librarians should also be prepared to provide student patrons with resources on living in a global society and competing in the global economy, as well as providing complex texts in various disciplines appropriate to the CCS requirements.
The CCS are based on 21st-century skills and align with AASL’s standards for the 21st-century learner. The importance of information literacy is spread throughout the CCS. The CCS provide a unique opportunity for collaboration, with teachers, administrators, and the community, as well as between school library media centers and public libraries.