Lillian Lowery, Maryland's school superintendent, last month told a School of Education audience of more than 200 that the state will be ready next year for the "huge instructional shift" when new Common Core standards will be introduced in all state schools.
Adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, Common Core will set rigorous new curriculum guidelines for K-12 schools to better prepare students for careers and college. A voluntary effort initiated by the nation's governors and chief state school officers, Common Core is also intended to enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world economy.
Lowery was the featured speaker at this year's Shaping the Future series, which examines critical issues in education. She was joined at the event by Callie Riley of Achieve Inc. and Dave Volrath of the Maryland Department of Education. Moderator Wes Moore, a Johns Hopkins alumnus, author, and university trustee, said that the new standards will offer high school graduates a diploma that "actually means something," and will better prepare them for the challenges of the workplace.
According to Lowery, Common Core requires students to go deeper into subject matter in the language arts and math. In reading, for example, there will be more emphasis on informational texts, with the expectation that students will use evidence and data to support their understanding of what they are reading. The superintendent added, "Since international benchmarks will be used to measure progress, students in Maryland will be compared to those across the country and around the world."