LBUSD Superintendent, Governor Schwarzenegger Applaud Adoption of National Standards

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common core education standardsThe Long Beach Unified School District joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in applauding the California State Board of Education’s unanimous vote to adopt the national Common Core State Standards.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a single set of high and clear educational standards for English-language arts and mathematics that states can share and voluntarily adopt. Designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents and school administrators, the Common Core reflect the best available evidence and the highest state standards from across the country. As part of the adoption process, states have the option to add additional standards as a way to encourage high-standards states like California to maintain and even extend the rigor of their existing standards.

By providing clear goals for learning, the standards help teachers make certain that students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.  A website dedicated to the project is available at

“These standards, which were developed with LBUSD’s input, will help educators to close achievement gaps and ensure educational equity among America’s schoolchildren,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for the Long Beach Unified School District.

Steinhauser earlier this year traveled to Washington, D.C. to work with state and national leaders on crafting the Common Core Standards, after he was invited by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell to serve on the Validation Committee for the project. Spearheading the project is the National Governors Association, along with state education chiefs.

Steinhauser also recently joined 54 of his fellow urban school superintendents nationwide in signing an open letter (attached PDF) supporting the standards, under the auspices of the Council of the Great City Schools. The Council is an association of the nation’s largest school systems, including Long Beach.

The new standards will finally give America a common definition of what academic proficiency means and what it doesn’t mean, rather than having 50 different definitions. Not only will this help schools focus their efforts on one set of high standards, but it will undercut the temptation by individual states to lower their standards to meet federal targets for achievement on state tests.

“I fully support the implementation of these standards,” Steinhauser said. “They will help our school district to build upon its nationally recognized successes.”

The standards support LBUSD’s concerted effort to improve college and career readiness through the school district’s own Academic and Career Success Initiative, Steinhauser said. While the college enrollment rate here has reached 74 percent, a 6 percent increase in just two years, the goal is to achieve a 90 percent college enrollment rate by 2013.

“The Common Core Standards help light the path toward attainment of this ambitious goal,” Steinhauser said, “and today’s adoption of the standards is a vital step in providing equal educational opportunities for all students.”

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