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The Common Core Standards will fail to feed our workforce unless…

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

~ from Common Core State Standards Initiative

Finally, educational standards that make sense for the real-world.

But the way I see it, there’s one huge gap in the conversation. Business people.

In its development, the common core committee consulted national organizations representing teachers, postsecondary educators, civil rights groups, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Where were the business leaders? Who decided what skills will be relevant for work expectations?

Will educators be retooling schools, curriculums and systems while chasing a ghost of a theory? Or can the business community and educators finally find commonality in purpose?

Red tape and fast action don’t live together

As it stands today, the two camps speak different languages and operate within opposing world systems. Businesses, by nature, must be responsive to market shifts. Those who dally, die. Schools, by nature, respond slower, by committee. Case in point, Common Core Standards were adopted in 2010 and are only just now being implemented by some states.

Businesses operate privately, albeit corporations answer to boards of directors and shareholders. Owners and CEOs usually have the authority to innovate and move on opportunity with little bureaucracy beyond industry regulation and tax laws. Educators, on the other hand, are highly regulated. Innovators face skepticism and doubt.

Businesses hate red tape. Educators don’t operate without it.

Businesses profit or die. Schools fail and live.

Businesses have a hard time understanding educational constraints. And operating from a subsidized system, educators don’t live the cost of risk and innovation (unless education is a second career).

With such distance between systems, how can we think the Common Core will succeed in making education relevant to the real world when the two camps are like blind men and the elephant? While each owns a reality, the reality of the pieces resembles nothing of the whole.

As a parent, as an education writer, and as the partner of a serial small business entrepreneur, I’m very much interested in seeing this Common Core succeed. It makes so much sense.

So how do we find the conduit, the vital connection, that will make this work? Who will start the conversation? Who will tell schools how to approach and win business’ support? Who will show businesses where and how they will be welcome within the system?

If nothing else, with this blog I hope to scour, enlighten, question and build a bridge–at least the beginnings of one. Check back as I add my journalistic skill, insatiable curiosity and entrepreneurial experiences to the void.

This could be the start of something beautiful.


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