Teachers and administrators throughout the US are learning how to implement the latest innovation in education. The aim of the voluntary Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is to increase the competitiveness of the U.S. in the global marketplace by requiring students to practice the higher ordered thinking skills necessary in the 21st century. Its goal is to produce nation-wide academic benchmarks for students. Forty-five US states have signed up to adopt this voluntary program.
The CCSS is not a federal program, but is an effort of the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices, the Council of Chief State School Officers, private businesses, parents and students. The CCSS includes the use of “Informational Text” competencies, which returns non-fiction text to the center stage in the language curriculum. Written to inform a general audience, Extension Service resources (http://msucares.com/) provide the perfect source of informational text needed by today’s teachers.
Internationally benchmarked and based on research and evidence, the CCSS are aligned with college and career expectations and are more rigorous than outgoing standards. The new language standards focus on much more than just reading comprehension; they emphasize “close” reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The new math standards focus on precise thinking, data-driven decision making, and interpreting and analyzing data within charts. The new standards emphasize the skills needed to succeed in today’s dynamic economy: global awareness; economics, personal finance, and entrepreneurship; literacy in civics, health, and the environment; innovation skills of critical thinking and problem solving; technology skills of information, media, and technology literacy; and life skills of flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, diversity and tolerance, productivity and accountability, leadership and responsibility.
Anyone familiar with the vast resources Extension offers will immediately see how Extension Service materials are a natural source of informational text. Extension materials are written to the general citizenry, making them accessible to teachers and proficient readers at young ages. Additionally, Extension Service materials explain local phenomenon that naturally interest students. Even a quick look at http://msucares.com/pubs/index.html produces a plethora of material that teachers can use to meet language, math, science, and social studies standards. Currently, the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy and the Office of Agricultural Communications are working together to identify excellent sources of informational text, making it easier for teachers to quickly find and implement Extension publications in the classroom. Contact Dr. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and look for future posts with specific details.