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For Immediate Release
Monday, June 14, 2010
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Public Invited to Review and Comment on Common Core State Standards

Board to Weigh Public Opinion Prior to Vote on Adoption in July

MALDEN - State education officials are urging educators, parents and other stakeholders to review the latest drafts of the Common Core State Standards, and have pledged not to adopt them until they can ensure the new standards are either as strong as—or stronger than—the state's current standards.

The latest drafts of the new, state-developed standards in English language arts and mathematics have been posted on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website, along with a survey to measure response from the public. The survey will be open through the beginning of July, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote on adoption at a special meeting on July 21.

"The strong standards and culture of high expectations we have set for our students are a major contributor to the great gains that have been achieved in Massachusetts, over the past decade," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "It makes little sense for 50 states to have 50 separate sets of standards. The Common Core Standards deserve full consideration and a thorough review to determine if they can help build on our already strong standards and increase expectations nationally."

"Our message all along has been clear and consistent: Massachusetts will only adopt the Common Core standards if they match or surpass our current expectations for students," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Even if the Board votes to adopt, the Commonwealth would still maintain the opportunity to add to the standards, personalize them to Massachusetts and build them out in a way that will allow our educators to propel our students to the next level of learning."

At the May 25 Board meeting, Commissioner Chester announced plans to thoroughly review the standards over the next several months:

  • Appoint two independent expert panels—one for ELA and one for math—to review the standards and report back to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on their findings. These panels will include PreK-12 educators, and representatives from higher education.
  • Assist the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education in engaging one or more experts from outside of Massachusetts to compare the Common Core Standards to the Massachusetts draft of the revised standards in ELA and mathematics.
  • Present the results of the public comment and online survey, and allow the expert panels to report their findings the state Board in July.
  • Based on the public comment, independent expert panel reviews and the MBAE study, ask the Board to vote on adopting the Common Core Standards at a special meeting in July.
  • Reconvene the Curriculum Framework review panels for ELA and math in late summer to discuss the Common Core Standards and make recommendations on modifying them to ensure their appropriateness for Massachusetts, including any potential additional standards and material unique to Massachusetts.
  • Discuss these recommendations at the September Board meeting, and vote to release them for public comment.
  • Vote on adding the recommended standards to the Common Core at the November Board meeting. The resulting documents will be the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Mathematics.
  • Post the newly adopted standards on the ESE website from January 2011-June 2012, and conduct regional statewide professional development sessions.

"Our goal is to provide every student in the Commonwealth with the best possible schools, teachers, curriculum and opportunities they need to be successful in school, college, careers and in life," Chester said. "We will take the time to evaluate the Common Core Standards before making a decision, and if we ultimately find that the final product represents a decline in expectations from our state standards, we will not hesitate to walk away."

The Common Core State Standards and survey have been posted at www.doe.mass.edu/candi/standards/.



Last Updated: June 14, 2010
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