Businesses do a lot to attract quality employees to their work places. They offer benefits and other perks, provide internships to help students gain experience and advertise openings far and wide on the Internet and with career placement services.
But business owners and hiring managers also recognize that none of these things will work if job applicants don’t have the skills and education they need to do the work.
That’s why I’ve seen the business community in recent years get more involved in education issues at local and state levels – from individual businesses to groups like the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable. Businesses also rallied to support MAPS for Kids, which voters passed as a sales tax in 2001 and which in recent years has brought $700 million worth of improvements to central Oklahoma schools in the form of construction, transportation and technology projects.
To keep moving forward with this progress, Oklahoma must not back down from its initial support of the Common Core State Standards, the academic standards in English language arts and math that 45 states have adopted to ensure students are prepared for their future after high school graduation.
These standards, developed in cooperation among the states, will help Oklahoma students stay competitive with other states and internationally in English and math. The standards are not testing, nor do they require a certain curriculum. It is up to each state, each school district, and ultimately, each teacher, to decide what works.