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Tulsa schools superintendent: Common Core provides common vision and standards

BY KEITH BALLARD Modified: May 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm •  Published: May 22, 2013

School is more than learning your ABCs and how to solve equations. We know that learning how to think critically, work cooperatively and solve problems creatively are among the most important skills children need to be productive in a competitive global economy.

Oklahoma's PASS standards are tougher than those in many other states, yet we are still falling short. Too many of our children leave school unprepared for college or career.

In 2010, Oklahoma was among 45 states that chose to adopt the Common Core State Standards for education. These new, higher standards are the result of a state-led initiative by governors, state superintendents and teachers — many from Oklahoma. They will prepare all students for life beyond our doors, whether that's college, career training or the workplace.

Adoption of these standards means every student in our state will be held to consistent, meaningful standards, regardless of where they live or their family background. This common-sense approach has broad, bipartisan support, not only in Oklahoma, but nationally. Teachers, parents, business leaders, policymakers and higher education leaders all agree that Common Core could be a game-changer for our students and schools.

The Common Core standards are tough. They were developed through extensive research by educators in our state working with experts and teachers from across the country. Common Core will push our students to read at higher levels earlier in their school careers. It will also require that 70 percent of all texts read in 12th grade be nonfiction.

I especially like the fact that successful implementation of Common Core will move students beyond the memorization and regurgitation of facts and figures. They will be challenged to develop a deeper understanding of subject matter.

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