This is a guest post by Sam.

Parents across the United States are deeply concerned about the quality of education that their children are receiving. International test scores indicate that students of the United States are receiving inferior educations when compared to other countries. United States students are lagging behind other industrialized nations particularly in the areas of math and science. However, despite these concerns, many parents are unsure about how to proceed.

Whatever their political views, most teachers agree that parental involvement is a major influence on student success. Most parents are interested in their children’s education and want to stay involved. However, because test scores and school quality rankings can be so subjective, parents have no way of fully understanding what comprises a “good school” or an “excellent education.”

The No Child Left Behind initiative attempted to track student and school performance by using extensive testing. Federal funding of schools was tied to student achievement on these tests. However, it is becoming apparent that the No Child Left Behind program has led to little improvement in the educational system as a whole.

In response to these confusing issues, two highly-influential educational organizations (the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers) created the Common Core Standard Initiative. The people of these groups wanted to create a nationwide set of educational objectives for every grade level. The CCSSO and the NGA Center worked with educators, parents, community groups, researchers and publishers to develop these goals. Currently, each state has its own individual standard of learning. Using a national scale of standards will improve the educational quality that students across the nation receive.

The Common Core Standards are basically a grade by grade listing of the accomplishments that each student should master before promotion to the next grade. Educators are hoping that these standards will be applied on a nationwide scale. Nationwide standards will eliminate the problem of “good” and “bad” school districts. All parents will be able to rest assured that their children will be receiving a consistent, rigorous education no matter where the family lives. If a family needs to relocate mid-year, students will experience less disruption to their education since all classes on that level will be learning the same things at a similar pace.

Parents can easily ascertain for themselves whether or not their children are mastering the vital skills needed to succeed in school. Teachers can quickly look down the list to see in which areas a particular child needs more help. These standards will also simplify teaching since all of the children in a particular classroom should begin the year with similar skill sets. Students can also benefit from the adoption of Common Core Standards, since they will have clear, consistent goals at which they can aim.

The Common Core Standards are not the silver bullet that will repair our educational system. However, these standards are a tool that parents can use to evaluate the quality of a child’s school. Parents will be able to hold their school districts accountable to these objectives. Teachers and principals can use these rubrics to make sure that children are not promoted to the next grade-level with gaping holes in their educational backgrounds. Click here to get more specific information on the Common Core Standards.

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Note from Stefan: A more political article, focused on the quality of our education. What do you think of these type of articles? Let me know :)

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