California has begun the shift to a nationwide set of new academic standards for public schools. The standards, known the Common Core State Standards, have been adopted in 46 states.
The new standards are meant to provide a national, uniform measure of student achievement.
Turlock Unified School District officials say schools here began Common Core instruction two years ago and nearly all instruction already meets those standards- something they say has increased student learning.
The standards are research-based and are designed in line with the practices of academically high-achieving nations around the world. The standards are designed to prepare students for success in college and careers not only in the nation, but in the competitive global economy.
"After months of planning and collaborating with our implementation partners, we have presented the governor and state legislature with a living document to guide California's implementation of the Common Core State Standards," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "This work will take our state's already world-class standards to a new level, emphasizing a deep understanding of English-language arts and mathematics to ensure our students complete high school, ready to thrive in college and careers."
A large focus of the core standards will be on English-language arts and mathematics. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs
Students will begin testing for the new standards in the 2014-15 school year. Torlakson says that schools across the state will begin to implement full core standards immediately with the first step to raise awareness of the standards.
The second phase outlines a transition period by building resources, assessing needs, establishing new professional learning opportunities, and expanding collaboration amongst schools and districts. The third phase will include the implementation of new learning support for teachers; fully aligned curriculum, instruction, and testing; and the integration of these elements for all students.
This will be the first time California schools have undergone a drastic curriculum change since 1997. Under the core standards students will learn to work together and use digital media to express and present evidence-based fiction and non-fiction literary analysis. The standards also focus on extending mathematical thinking to real-world challenges so that students develop a depth of understanding and an ability to solve everyday problems through the power of mathematics.