Leveraging the Common Core to Support College and Career Readiness in California

by | Aug 2015

August 2015

The early years of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in California were complicated by the Great Recession as well as by a significant devolution of finance and programmatic control to the local level through the Local Control Funding Formula. The state charted a steady course and took a systematic approach to CCSS implementation, making policy changes in such areas as assessment and accountability to create a framework that supported the standards. Postsecondary systems also made policy shifts to align with the CCSS. This research outlines policymakers’ and educators’ hopes for how the CCSS can support improvements in students’ college and career readiness, and it provides early evidence about both similarities and disconnects between those expectations and implementation activities in high schools and districts.

Policymakers and educators are optimistic about the potential of the CCSS to improve college and career readiness, yet there is initiative fatigue, confusion about how to integrate the many college and career readiness-focused reform efforts underway in California, and a lack of clear guidance about how to implement the CCSS. Interviewed high school educators expressed a desire for more clarity about such issues as: 1) the expectations of the state’s postsecondary systems for their various degree and certificate programs, 2) how to connect those expectations to teaching and learning in high schools, and 3) instructional strategies that will support the intent of the CCSS with regard to college and career readiness. The report outlines key findings regarding state education leaders’ expectations compared with educators’ experiences with CCSS implementation.

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Roles for County Offices of Education to Support College and Career Readiness: Bridging California’s Vision with Local Implementation Needs (policy brief)

This brief focuses on the potential role of County Offices of Education (COEs) in bridging the state’s vision for college and career readiness with the implementation needs of local districts and schools. After summarizing the work of 10 COEs that are known for supporting districts in increasing college and career readiness, the brief raises questions and outlines concerns in this area for COEs across the state.

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Supporting High School Teachers’ College and Career Readiness Efforts: Bridging California’s Vision with Local Implementation Needs (policy brief)

This brief shares the perspectives and concerns of high school teachers in two districts regarding implementing the Common Core State Standards, specifically as the Common Core pertains to preparing more students for colleges and well-paying careers. The brief also makes state policy recommendations for ways to support teachers in their efforts to increase students’ college and career readiness, including through fostering alignment between K-12 and postsecondary workforce partners.

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