For Immediate Release

Dawn Michele Whitehead
Interim Vice President of Communications

AAC&U Joins Multi-State Coalition of Higher Education Leaders Mobilizing in Support of Common Core Standards

More Than 240 College and University Leaders from 36 States Join Higher Education for Higher Standards to Advocate Together for the Common Core as Essential to Educating The Next Generation of Students for Success in College, Work, and Life
Jul 16, 2014

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) recently announced that it has joined Higher Education for Higher Standards to publicly advocate for effective implementation of college- and career-ready standards, including the Common Core State Standards, in our K-12 schools. This collaboration is a broad-based effort to mobilize college leaders to actively participate in debates about the standards that are increasingly playing out in state capitals and in the media. The goal of the effort is to refocus the conversations on the important role that these higher and different standards play in helping today’s students better prepare for success in college, life, and work.

“Too many states are still relying on standards that reflect an outmoded model of education—one that is more focused on knowledge acquisition than higher-level critical thinking and problem-solving,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “Today’s students and the future of our economy and our democracy depend on significant reforms both in K-12 education and higher education. Working together, schools and colleges can prepare students with the learning they need to meet new challenges and solve unscripted problems in every sphere of their lives—personal, economic, civic, democratic, global, and environmental. I am pleased to lend AAC&U’s voice to this growing coalition of educational leaders committed to twenty-first-century educational excellence.”

Through its Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, AAC&U has consistently called for colleges and universities to ensure that today’s college students achieve a broader set of learning outcomes to ensure that they are ready to succeed and lead in a complex global society and a competitive economic environment. Efforts underway across higher education to revise curricula and bring all students to higher levels of achievement on a set of Essential Learning Outcomes will be undermined if we do not ensure that students arrive at college better prepared for the kinds of inquiry-based learning and collaborative problem-solving that define quality learning in the twenty-first century. The Common Core Standards will not accomplish this goal by themselves, but implementing them effectively and in a coordinated way across states is an important step in the right direction, AAC&U affirms.

Through LEAP and involvement with the development of the Lumina Foundation Degree Qualifications Profile, AAC&U has played a leading role in moving the national dialogue about the meaning of a college degree to a new level of shared focus and coherence. We must join forces with K-12 leaders and teachers to advance a coordinated dialogue about quality in K-12 education with similar focus and coherence.

Through its LEAP initiative, involvement with the Degree Qualifications Profile, and projects and partnerships such as the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment, AAC&U is advancing a shared vision of quality education that does not “standardize” the curriculum, but does develop a transparent set of reference points about outcomes that allow institutions, states, faculty members, students, parents, and other stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of what high-quality learning means in the twenty-first century and to gauge progress in meeting educational goals for today’s students.

"In this national dialogue about standards, higher education leaders can dispel myths and clarify for the public the critical importance of high standards for the strength of our economy and the vitality of our democracy,” said Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University and chair of AAC&U’s board of directors. “We are pleased to add AAC&U’s support to this effort.”