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June 2, 2010

MSU professor applauds release of national education standards

EAST LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan State University professor who had a hand in developing a set of national education standards for grades K-12 said the newly released standards could be the turning point for education reform in the United States.

On June 2, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the Common Core State Standards, which cover the subjects of English-language arts and mathematics. For more information on the standards, visit

Officials from the two groups say the standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America's children for success in college and work. The standards are expected to be adopted by a majority of the 48 states considering them.

Bill Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor of statistics and education at MSU, served on a group that provided expert input for the math standards. Schmidt is internationally known for his research into the quality of math and science curricula in U.S. schools.

Through his research, Schmidt has learned that one of the major differences between the top-achieving countries and the United States is the “presence of focused, coherent and rigorous curriculum” and that the only way the United States could have such standards would be if they were developed and implemented on a nationwide basis.

“That day has come for both mathematics and language arts,” Schmidt said. “What sits before the governors is the greatest opportunity we have to improve learning in these two areas. It will not be easy, but the stakes are high for the nation‘s children. This truly could be the turning point for education reform in the United States.”

The release of the standards marks the conclusion of the development of the Common Core State Standards and signals the start of the adoption and implementation process by the states. The yearlong process was led by governors and chief state school officers in 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia. The final standards were informed by nearly 10,000 public comments and by standards in other top-performing countries.

In the coming months, each state will follow its own procedures and processes for adoption of the Common Core State Standards.


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.