To the Editor:
I would like to address Congressman Randy Hultgren’s concerns about implementation of the new Common Core standards in Illinois schools.
The Common Core standards establish what students need to learn at each grade level to be on track for college and career readiness. However, these standards do not tell teachers how to teach.
Teachers will continue to create lesson plans and tailor their instruction to the unique needs of their students just as they have always done.
It is also important to note that the Common Core has been a state-led and state-driven effort from the very start.
Teachers were brought together to create rigorous, internationally benchmarked learning standards in a thoughtful and transparent process. The federal government was not involved in their development, and it will not govern the initiative.
Over time, the standards should result in cost savings for Illinois as the Common Core allows states to share curriculum materials, items on state tests and best practices. Each state does not have to separately invest time and money in these expensive undertakings.
Illinois should not “slow down” implementation of the Common Core. Since its adoption by the Illinois State Board of Education and General Assembly in 2010, teachers have been aligning instruction to the standards, and schools have been preparing for their implementation. They are a vast improvement over prior standards and are in the best interest of our students.
More information about the Common Core is available at www.isbe.net/hot-topics.htm.
Christopher A. Koch
State superintendent of education