Exciting news came to proponents of the Common Core State Standards yesterday when the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) announced its adoption of the standards. As a result of this decision, Education Week reports that 87,000 students who are children of military families will now be taught according to the new standards.
The DoDEA’s recognition of the need for common standards across states reinforces one of the guiding principles that led NGA, CCSSO, and state teams to develop the standards in the first place. By states adopting a common set of standards, migrant children who transfer to a school in a different state will be assured that the academic expectations in the new school will be the same as those in the school they left. Under NCLB, where each state has been encouraged to create its own standards, researchers have found great variation in expectations of students between states, causing an 8th grader considered proficient in Mississippi to be considered a grade or two behind when moved and began 9th grade in Massachusetts. As a result, moving from one state to another could, and often does, significantly hinder a child’s educational experience and success.
Many children from military families are particularly affected by inconsistencies in state standards, because they will likely attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. It is essential for these children and their families to be assured that they will have access to high quality, consistent education standards as they transition from state to state. And, even most opponents of the standards can agree that the consistency that the Common Core State Standards offer is highly beneficial to a population as migrant as military children and their families.