As states and districts focus on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, it is critically important that they turn their attention to building public awareness and support for the Standards.
As we transition to new standards and assessments, we know that school may be harder for some and future test scores may be lower. We are positive that our students will rise to the challenge, but it will take the involvement and support of parents and the community – and partnerships with educators – to ensure that student learning is supported both inside and outside of the classroom.
Now, more than ever before, it is essential that parents, community leaders, and elected officials are aware of the Common Core, support their goal of college and career readiness for all students, and remain committed to their implementation.
In Arizona, a group of committed leaders is working to accomplish just this. The Arizona Public Engagement Task Force was convened as an independent collaboration of more than 30 partners, representing education statewide, from cradle-to-career. The group was created to build public awareness and engagement regarding key issues impacting education in the state, starting with the Common Core.
In September, the Task Force held a press conference to announce the creation of www.ArizonaCommonCore.org, the state’s go-to resource for the Standards, and a Communications Toolkit for educators, schools, and school districts. The Toolkit provides superintendents, principals, teachers, parent liaisons, and other community leaders with helpful resources to let parents and the public know about the new Standards.
The Task Force is convened by Expect More Arizona, a nonpartisan education advocacy organization that is working to build a world-class education in the state. As an independent non-profit organization, Expect More Arizona has served as the leader of the group and has been able to bring together a diverse group of organizations together to focus on what can be achieved by working together and leveraging existing resources.
At the state level, the Task Force has added additional capacity to support the work that the Governor’s Office and Arizona Department of Education have been doing to implement the Standards in schools across the state.
As the Task Force’s work moves forward, it will focus on developing and implementing a robust communications campaign, outreach strategy, and shared advocacy platform to support the implementation of the standards in Arizona.