Strong majority of Washingtonians support Common Core

Nearly 70 percent of Washington residents said they support Common Core State Standards in a new statewide poll from Partnership for Learning, the education foundation of the Washington Roundtable.Support for the new learning standards was nearly identical in three regions surveyed: King County (71%), western Washington (71%) and eastern Washington (67%). Complete results are available at the Partnership’s Website.

“These results mirror many national polls that show support builds for Common Core and testing the more the public and parents learn about them,” said Jana Carlisle, executive director of Partnership for Learning. “The new standards are important because raising expectations for all students helps address our state’s growing equity issues and helps students better compete for the quality jobs Washington has to offer.”

The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in our state’s 295 school districts this school year and will first be tested in spring 2015 with the new Smarter Balanced exams in grades 3-8 and 11. Visit and new the frequently asked questions section  to learn more.

Seattle Times Ed Lab tackles skills gap

The Seattle Times hits the nail on the head with coverage of our skills gap report in today’s Ed Lab blog post. From reporter Claudia Rowe

Complaints about the dearth of students graduating from high school with adequate math and science skills have been voiced so loudly, and for so long, that they threaten to fade into background noise. But the need is real, urgent and has implications that anyone can appreciate.

Rowe outlines some key findings from our 2013 report, “Great Jobs Within Our Reach.” Most notably the fact that  25,000 jobs that went unfilled in Washington state here last year — most in computer science, engineering and health care — because companies couldn’t find qualified candidates. By 2017, that gap is projected to grow to 50,000.  As Rowe writes…

The Washington Roundtable report, “Great Jobs Within Our Reach,” published last spring, was intended as a clarion call to educators and policymakers. It noted that if just 5 percent more public school graduates pursued computer science or engineering degrees, the pool of qualified employees here would increase by 3,000 annually.

On this front there are bright spots, schools taking active — and often very creative — approaches toward getting more students interested in math- and science-related subjects (commonly referred to as STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math). Education Lab found one in Eastern Washington where 100 percent of students are low-income, yet hundreds take engineering design, aerospace and biology courses.

At the same time, the school’s graduation rates have climbed above 90 percent. Curious? Stay tuned for our story in mid-June.