For more than a century, the National Urban League has been an advocate for educational excellence, equality and fairness. We support Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a viable means to help close the achievement gap and to provide the roadmap to prepare our students for college, a changing 21st century workforce, and a fulfilling life.
Last week, we launched the second phase of our Put Our Children 1st education campaign, including two new radio and television spots. Both PSAs show that with the equitable implementation of Common Core State Standards, K-12 students will be prepared to compete on a national and global scale. Already, the campaign and PSAs have garnered the support of parents and educators, as well as the broader community, including One Solution, the creative and branded entertainment arm of Radio One, which the National Urban League partnered with in the creation of the PSAs.
In the first ad, we see what true competition looks like, provided every child has the same resources and the same start. The race to excellence and success should be one that everyone is prepared for, and one that everyone can win. In the second spot, a young student opens his textbook to see the heading, Mission Possible. He is presented with a myriad of career possibilities for himself, from future astronaut, specialist soldier, physician, and judge.
The campaign demonstrates the abundant promise of the new standards that all of our children will be prepared for college and career when provided with equitable resources towards a high-quality education. Children thrive when they have dreams and the means to accomplish those dreams. Society wins when those dreams are realized.
Internationally, American students lag behind their peers. Twenty-five countries exceed us in mathematics, and 16 outperform us in reading. At home, the situation is even more dire. Whereas 44% of white students read at or above grade level, only 16% of Black students attain that same proficiency.
This is unacceptable. While we understand that Common Core is only one part of the solution to our educational challenges, it is a critical first step towards guaranteeing that all children receive the best possible education. It is imperative that we stay the course.
We recognize that educational reform – indeed, all change – is hard. But if we are to close the achievement gap, we need to build support for the equitable implementation of these new standards, and engage deeply with our local schools to ensure all of our children have the resources they need to succeed. In short, we must be champions for our children.
Please share these PSAs across your social networks and learn more about CCSS. Beginning October 15th, we’ll be holding a monthly Ask the Expert Twitter chat featuring education and policy experts. Please feel free to submit your questions in advance and join the discussion with the hashtag #PutOurChildren1st.