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Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS, the NAACP has always fought for strong, integrated public schools; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP reaffirms all its prior resolutions supporting a high quality, free public education for all children; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that establishes a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 11th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt; and

WHEREAS, the standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce; and

WHEREAS, the standards drafters' worked to make the standards clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school; and

WHEREAS, the standards are designed to promote equity by ensuring all students, no matter where they live, are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate and compete with their peers in the U.S. and abroad; and

WHEREAS, unlike previous state standards, which were unique to every state in the country, the Common Core State Standards enable collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, including: the development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned with the standards; the development and implementation of common comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems; and changes needed to help support educators and schools in teaching to the new standards; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards were written by building on the best and highest state standards in existence in the U.S., examining the expectations of other high performing countries around the world, and a careful study of the research and literature available on what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college and careers; and

WHEREAS, States that adopted the Common Core State Standards are currently collaborating to develop common assessments that will be aligned with the standards and replace existing end-of-year state assessments, and these assessments are scheduled to be available in the 2014-2015 school year; and

WHEREAS, high quality common standards could ensure that all students have access to high-quality educational content, supports, and opportunities that research demonstrates are essential to ensure post-secondary success; and

WHEREAS, high quality common standards could allow parents and caregivers to more effectively assess their children's progress and compare their children's education with the education of children in other communities, states and nations; and

WHEREAS, high-quality common standards could free up resources to create high-quality and rich assessments that can accurately and reliably measure the progress of every student; and

WHEREAS, with the adoption of common standards in 45 states, the District of Columbia, 4 territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity, a plan must be developed to hold states accountable for meeting the unique needs of students of color; and

WHEREAS, needs vary throughout the country. Local culture and history often dictate new and different areas of study necessary for success in those regions. Standards should leave room for curriculum customization as needed, but make sure all students are held to the same high expectations; and

WHEREAS, alignment with assessments and instruction, professional development for teachers and adequate student support systems are necessary. If standards are the cornerstone around which schools are redesigned, to help students reach higher standards, these corresponding elements must be included; and

WHEREAS, states must be held accountable for making sure that a set of common standards are the starting point and not the "end" for effective education of students.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP must become a partner at every stage of implementing common standards to ensure that the standards lead to increased opportunities and better outcomes for all students; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP must become a partner at the national, state and local levels in providing outreach and education about the implementation of the standards in a manner that builds on the Association's civic engagement work and commitment to a quality, free public education for all students; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP support Standard Core Curriculum and Assessment measures that take into consideration all students ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds in delivering education services.