By Leticia de la Vara, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, NCLR
When my daughter was born 12 years ago, I was a young, scared mom. I wasn’t sure about much in terms of mothering, but I knew one thing: my daughter would own her future and deserved the best from me in order to get there. As mothers, we are always trying to do what’s best for our children. We worry not only about their health and safety, but also about their education, especially when it concerns meeting educational benchmarks appropriate for their age. Studies have conclusively determined that parental involvement in education has a positive impact on the short- and long-term success of young students. Still, many of us have felt limited in what we can do to shape or reinforce what our children are learning in school. We have often felt more like observers than actual participants, but new school standards are helping to change that.
Across the country the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are being implemented in public and charter schools. This new approach sets standards for what kids should know by certain grades regardless of their income level or ZIP code. The CCSS will also allow school districts to identify ways to develop curricula to meet the needs of their students while benchmarking them to national and international standards to ensure our children’s success. Additionally, it gives parents the opportunity to get more involved in preparing their children for the future.
In 44 states, educators and parents alike have shown overwhelming support for the Common Core. Our teachers need flexibility in the classroom that gives them more time to emphasize a deeper analysis of subjects rather than focusing on quick memorization, something which the CCSS aims to do. It is raising the bar for our children and reawakening in them a love of learning that connects what they are absorbing in the classroom to the evolving world around them.
In the Latino community specifically, these standards will allow our students—and us as parents—to ensure that our children are challenged in the classroom and able to compete with peers in their state, across the country, and around the world once they graduate. In my state, Arizona, Latinos represent 47 percent of the population under 19; their success is closely tied to the success of the state’s economy. Yet a gap in educational attainment exists between Latinos and their White counterparts throughout the country. Some of this disparity is due to economic factors and language proficiency.
Our children will inherit an increasingly competitive job market that requires them to be sharp critical thinkers, quick problem solvers, and effective communicators. That is why NCLR supports the Common Core State Standards as a national imperative. It is crucial that we do all we can to prepare the emerging generation for their future jobs and make America’s economy more robust and competitive as a result. The Common Core State Standards will help close the existing educational gap by raising the bar and ensuring that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status, have an equal chance to succeed—giving them the best opportunity to own their futures. That’s all a mother could want.