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Higher-ed Leaders Mobilize for Common Core Standards

BOSTON — Mass. Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland and a dozen public college and university presidents have joined more than 200 college and university leaders from 30 states in a new coalition, Higher Ed for Higher Standards, to mobilize in support of the Common Core State Standards. Although Common Core has proven extremely controversial nationwide, with several states moving to opt out, many Massachusetts post-secondary leaders view Common Core, with its focus on college and career readiness, as critical for improving student success. In 2010, Massachusetts became the 27th state to adopt the internationally benchmarked standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. “I see this as an important opportunity to reaffirm our established support for Common Core,” said Freeland. “Here in the Commonwealth, the standards are providing a strong foundation for new assessments and improved collaboration between our high schools and colleges.” Massachusetts public higher education leaders joining the coalition include Robert Antonucci, president, Fitchburg State University; Gail Carberry, president, Quinsigamond Community College; Robert Caret, president, UMass Amherst; Carol Cowan, president, Middlesex Community College; John Cox, president, Cape Cod Community College; Pam Eddinger, president, Bunker Hill Community College; Lane Glenn, president, Northern Essex Community College; Ellen Kennedy, president, Berkshire Community College; Robert Martin, interim president, Framingham State University; Patricia Maguire Meservey, president, Salem State University; J. Keith Motley, chancellor, UMass Boston; and Elizabeth Preston, interim president, Westfield State University. “A strong K-12 Common Core enables a true alignment of college entry standards,” said Eddinger. “Our students need an elegant and well-defined curricular path from kindergarten to college graduation. We owe our students that clear guidance.” Among other policy positions, Higher Ed for Higher Standards believes the Common Core standards can help colleges and universities in their efforts to reduce remediation rates and help more students succeed in college. A major initiative led by the department and campuses is now underway to overhaul remedial (developmental) education and make expectations for college success much clearer for students. In Massachusetts, 65% of community college students place into remedial math coursework, which can impact their long-term success in higher education.

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