Common Core Standards Daily Update // December 30, 2014

All this week, we are sending out some of our top News stories from 2014. Today, we look at business community support for Common Core.

News You Can Use:

CBS News: “Businesses Want Common Core for Common Reasons”: Business leaders say CCSS are critical to prepare high school graduates for competitive jobs in the workforce. Stan Litlow, president of IBM International Foundation, says students graduating without the skills to do well in the workplace has reached “crisis proportion.” Heather Briccetti, president of the Business Council of New York, notes, “Only 35% [of high school graduates] are college or career ready. That means 65% of students with diplomas need some additional assistance or remediation before they can enter the workforce or go to college. The Common Core represents a standard that would raise that so that 100 percent of the kids…are career or college ready.” Litlow adds going back to inferior standards over concerns CCSS are more demanding “cheats” students. He says school districts should invest “more in teachers and teacher professional development, engaging and involving the community and parents to be able to support [CCSS].”

What It Means: By raising expectations of all students, CCSS better ensure high school grads will have the basic skills to succeed in the workforce or college. As the business leaders in the article point out U.S. students’ stagnation in international rankings threatens to weaken the economy by producing a workforce that doesn’t have the skills to lead.



CNBC Squawk Box (No link available): In a Squawk Box interview, ExxonMobil CEO and chair of the Business Roundtable Education Task Force Rex Tillerson says 98% of CEOs identify “skills gaps” as a major challenge to their businesses. Tillerson notes about 4 million jobs in the U.S. are unfilled because businesses cannot find skilled workers to fill them, a problem “symptomatic of an education system that is not delivering.” One step towards correcting the problem, he adds, is to encourage states “to put in high standards and put in assessments to test those standards.” He says correcting the problem is a long-term mission, but “there are solutions that are proven to work.”

What It Means: Business leaders across the nation support CCSS because they need a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Common Core helps ensure that children are ready for either college or to enter the workforce, and business groups know that higher standards will help close the skills gap that Tillerson mentioned. This is why groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable support Common Core. It is also evident in Louisiana, where business groups expressed “frustration” and “disappointment” with Sen. Vitter’s decision to back away from Common Core( Business leaders know that Common Core is both good for our children, and good for the economy.