Common Core State Standards

The Idea

States can help students from our nation’s military families by adopting and implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The Issue

The inconsistency of educational standards across states greatly impacts military families, especially because these families move so often. In fact, students in military households change schools an average of six to nine times before graduating. With each move, these young people are asked to tackle new curriculums, meet new expectations and master new assessments. Many of them fall behind.  

The CCSS are designed to address this situation. The standards provide a clear, rigorous set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills that will help all students, including the estimated 1.5 million school-aged children being raised in military families, succeed in college and careers.

The idea is simple: All U.S. students, regardless of their background or location, need to master similar skills. Doing so means they are more likely to graduate on time; be prepared for work or higher education; and contribute toward increased U.S. competitiveness.

Highly mobile children, including military-connected children, are often forced to skip or repeat courses when they move into states that approach education in widely differing ways. The situation prevents many mobile students from graduating on time, and may lead others to drop out of school.

The Common Core State Standards help address this problem. Development of the CCSS was led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The process drew on the expertise of teachers, school administrators and curriculum experts. Adoption of the standards is voluntary.

The CCSS are not a curriculum. They are a clear set of goals and expectations about what knowledge and skills students need to succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction for students in their classrooms.

What States are Doing

By mid-2011, 45 states had voluntarily adopted the Standards. By doing so, they set by-grade annual targets and promise state residents a rigorous, nationally, and globally competitive education. Among the states with the large military populations that have not adopted the Standards are Texas and Virginia.


What the Federal government is Doing

The CCSS are a state-grown initiative, not a federal program. The Obama Administration, however, has issued a blueprint to encourage Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. That document calls on states to meet standardized benchmarks, of which the Common Core State Standards is an example.