Guest commentary: Keep World-Class Standards for Michigan Learners

Guest commentary: Keep World-Class Standards for Michigan Learners
May 21, 2013/Bridge Magazine

By Doug Rothwell/Business Leaders for Michigan

This year, Michigan public schools began using the kind of high-quality content standards that our kids need to be competitive in the 21st century. Used by 45 states, the Common Core State Standards specify what students should be able to know and do at every grade level in reading and math, so they can be ready to advance when they graduate no matter whether they enter the workforce or continue their education.

We all want our children to succeed and for our state to flourish. The fact is that good paying jobs are increasingly requiring more education and the jobs will go where educated workers can be found. Michigan needs the Common Core. The standards have been carefully researched and developed to ensure their rigor and relevance in a 21st-century knowledge economy. After decades of shrinking incomes and population, Michigan is starting to rebound. To make our recovery permanent, we need to make sure our children have the knowledge and skills employers need.

With the Common Core in place, teachers and schools have a reliable yardstick for determining whether students are on track to keep pace with their peers across the globe. Michigan still gets to decide the curricula that should be taught and teachers get to decide how to teach.

The Common Core is essential to make sure every graduate in Michigan has been well-prepared for the world of tomorrow. Business Leaders for Michigan joins with education leaders, research and advocacy groups like the Business Round Table, Detroit Regional Chamber, Education Trust-Midwest, and many others to support full and continuing implementation of the Common Core.

Our goal is to make Michigan a “Top Ten” state for job, economic and personal income growth. Whether it’s in traditional Michigan industry sectors like manufacturing and agriculture or growing ones like health care and technology, Michigan’s ability to grow economically will be driven by increases in productivity tied to talent and innovation – and our education system is a primary incubator of both.

The Common Core State Standards will ensure that all Michigan kids have the academic knowledge and skills to succeed after high school and help create a bright economic future for Michigan.