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Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards
I will investigate how the common core state standards prepare students for the workforce.
Curated by Talisa Butler
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Common Core State Standards Initiative | English Language Arts Standards | Introduction | Key Design Considerations

I thought it was a little ironic that the last place I went to search for information on the common core state standards was the common core state standards website. As I was skimming this page for anything relevant to the workforce I found something interesting. The common core state standards are not intended to prepare high school graduates for a career; rather they are
intended to prepare students for workforce readiness training. From my understanding, the makers of common core expect all high school graduates to continue their education, whether it’s through a college like NYU or Rutgers or through schools like Anthem or Star institutes. This is a very optimistic point of view and though I appreciate it I think it is very unrealistic.


Career training or workforce readiness schools are not free, and in most cases they can be just
as expensive as attending college and I don’t think they offer scholarships and grants. The reality of that is a poor kid who just graduated from high school can’t afford to go to these schools, and they are going to be looking for an actual job. The young ladies and you men who graduate high school and already have a child or children may want to attend these schools but the reality is they have bigger responsibilities and need to a job immediately. Then there are the students who just want to make enough money to move out of their parents’ home, there are many reasons why students choose to jump right into the workforce rather than continuing their schooling. With this being common knowledge I think it is important for something to be put into place for these students, to prepare for the workforce and not workforce readiness training.

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Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice | Harvard Education Letter | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders

Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice | Harvard Education Letter | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

 By Robert Rothman MathFocusCoherenceSkills, Understanding, and ApplicationEmphasis on Practices ELAMore NonfictionFocus on EvidenceStaircase of Text ComplexitySpeaking and ListeningLiteracy in the Conent Areas (RT @PrincipalDiff: Nine Ways the Common..."


I chose this list because, though the skills listed are specific to the math and English language arts classroom, if you look at them as basic skills, 6 of the 9 are skills needed in the work force.


FOCUS- focus is a very important skill to have on the workforce, especially if you’re doing a job that can be dangerous such as working on an assembly line or with some kind of machinery, or even working with children or as a beautician. In these fields and many more it is very important
to stays focused and pay attention.


COHERENCE- coherence is especially important when you are working with customers. It is very important that you are clear and that the customers understand what you are telling them or asking them. The same goes for someone who may be a manager, it is very important that you give your staff clear directions.


SKILLS UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATION- for any job a person gets you will need some sort o skill set, in order to effectively do the job (application), you will need to understand the skills needed.


EMPHASIS ON PRACTICE- all jobs require practice. For example, my first job was as a cashier at Shoprite, before I actually started I had to sit in the back and practice ringing people up via a computer game. When I finally did get on the floor, I had to wear a tag that said “in- training” and
I had an expert cashier ringing with me just in case I needed help. This was all practicing until I was able to do it by myself.


FOCUS ON EVIDENCE- I think this is a basic skill needed in the job force, especially if you work in retail. I worked in a retail store and there have been times when a customer has tried to return an article of clothing claiming they didn’t wear it, but the clothing smells, or has sweat stains, etc, in cases like this you can’t just take the customer’s word you must pay attention to evidence.


SPEAKING AND LISTENING- this is a self explanatory skill and it’s needed for almost any job. 

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Ready for Career Readiness in the Common Core

Ready for Career Readiness in the Common Core | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

"The key to providing career readiness lies in integration. Career education and traditional academic subjects actually support each other. "


This article from the Huffington post, offers a different perspective on career and college
readiness. Instead of pinning them against one another or separating them, Hoye
suggests integrating them. According to Hoye,


“The key to providing career readiness lies in integration. Career education and traditional academic subjects actually support each other. Career education provides a valuable context for many aspects of traditional academics and vice versa. Students benefit from knowing that careers are connected to core academics and that career success depends on a strong academic background, answering the age-old question, "Why do I need to know this?"” (Hoye)


Unlike other activist Hoye doesn’t believe that college and career readiness should be separate instead he believes they go hand in hand. He writes,


“Some argue that career readiness somehow detracts from core academics. This argument is unnecessarily divisive and counterproductive. A competitive and productive workforce needs a
combination of strong academics, career readiness skills, and professional knowledge. Besides, many of the skills associated with careers are the same ones that enable students to do well in school.” (Hoye)


He offers and example from the Academy of Finance. A school where both career education and traditional education are combined,


“"At our Academy of Finance, we have observed a direct correlation between participation in the academy and academic success. Students talk about their dreams of becoming CPAs or of owning businesses and then they use the skills they have learned in their academy classes in all areas of their education to make those dreams real. Their teachers say that academy students are much
more focused and engaged in class because they see the relevance of everything they learn in helping them achieve their goals," says Fran Thew...” (Hoye)


This article offers a way of integrating college and career readiness and also gives a successful example of how it is done. Programs like the Finance Academy don’t seem realistic for schools in urban areas, or in school districts that don’t have as much funding. Though this is great example of what career readiness looks like in a more wealthy school, I would like to see what it looks like in
a district with less resources.


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'Career Ready' vs. 'College Ready' | Inside Higher Ed

'Career Ready' vs. 'College Ready' | Inside Higher Ed | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

David Moltz’s ‘Career Ready’ vs. ‘College Ready’ acknowledges that there is a difference between college and career readiness and that preparing students for a career after high school is much more complex than preparing students for college.


Moltz breaks down career readiness into,


“…three major skill areas: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function to function in the workplace and in routine daily activities; employable skills (such as critical thinking and responsibility) that are essential in any career area; and technical, job-specific skills related to a specific career pathway” (Moltz)


He also acknowledges that, “When educators conflate the two…students are disadvantaged by the ideathat preparation for college also readies them for a career” (Moltz). This is an interesting point because most of the videos and articles I’ve found, whether academic or on blogs, or using the terms interchangeably. Moltz also points out that most careers today,


“… require  some form of postsecondary education, there are many times when students will not be able to acquire the necessary academic, technical or employability skills in high school that will allow them to be career-ready without further education and training” (Moltz).


In my opinion this shows that the common core state standards are unfair to students who have no intentions of going on to college for two reasons. The first is with many educators conflating the two terms these students aren’t getting the career readiness the common core standards promise. The second is whether or not educators conflate the terms, it is virtually impossible for students to
start a career directly after high school without attending some kind of post secondary education school.

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Common Core: Rigor and Relevance

Common Core: Rigor and Relevance | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

via 4321...TEACH


Rigor is:
-scaffolding thinking
-planning for thinking


Rigor isn't:
-back to basics
-more or harder worksheets
-about high-order thinking


I chose this blog post more for the image and list of what is and isn’t rigor, than for the commentary. I like this image because in my opinion these are all skills that you need both for the real world or work force as well as to be successful in college or vocational schools. If this is
the framework that most schools are going to adopt when implementing the common core state standards, then I do believe it is possible for the standards to successfully prepare students for the work force.


Taking a look at the skills on the vertical line and thinking about any job I have ever had, these are all skills I have had to utilize. For example, if you apply for a position you must have some kind of
knowledge of what that position entails. After securing the position you will get a more in-depth description of your responsibilities and duties, you must understand or comprehend this description so that you can do the job correctly (application). While you are working things may happen that are not in the manual you must use your prior knowledge to analysis the situation and make an informed decision (synthesis). Lastly, you will unconsciously decide if you made the right decision (evaluation).


If we take a look at the skills on the horizontal line we can do the same thing. For example if you’re a chef, you know your way around the kitchen, you know what dishes should be paired together, so it will be easy for you to prepare a meal for a dinner party (knowledge in one discipline,
apply in discipline, and apply to real world predictable situations). But let’s say one of your guests brings a hungry infant to the party and looses the baby bag on the train. You must know tap into your knowledge of what infants can and can’t eat to prepare something for the crying baby (apply across disciplines, apply to real world unpredictable situations).

Via Mel Riddile
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Common Core Curriculum Comes to Cobb County -

Common Core Curriculum Comes to Cobb County - | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

 "Common Core Curriculum Comes to Cobb CountyPatch.comThe Common Core State Standards Initiative, commonly called Common Core, has been adopted in 46 states, without the input or direction of the Federal Government. "


I thought this article was important to scoop because this school district is implementing the common sore state standards this year. The article states, “These new sets of standard are designed to create students who are able to think critically, compete and excel in the global job market, and become better citizens”. The author goes on to say, “The new curriculum is
expected to mold students who are “college and career ready.”…”college and career readiness” can be defined as: “…the content knowledge and skills high school graduates must possess including, but not limited to, reading, writing, communications, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving—to be successful in any and all future endeavors.””


After reading these descriptions and definitions, this school district seems to understand what the common core standards aim to do. Their definition of college and career readiness definitely includes skills that are needed for the work force. I think it would be interesting to follow this
school for their first few years with the standards to see if they are actually preparing students for both college and a career.


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What is Career Readiness?

What is Career Readiness? | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

"Anthony Jackson is vice president for education at Asia Society. "


Anthony Jackson’s What is Career Readiness? is very similar to the Moltz’s ‘Career Ready’ vs. ‘College Ready’  article. Both articles differentiate between college readiness and career readiness, and give concrete examples of skills needed for career readiness.


Jackson suggests that career readiness, “…involves technical skills, as well as, language proficiency, and global competency” (Jackson). It is common knowledge that compared to many other countries, the US education is as effective as we hope.  As a result global competency is huge part of career readiness. Educators need to prepare students to compete in a global market for jobs. Jackson discusses the importance of career and technical education, bringing up the idea of students participating in post secondary education, other than college. According to Jackson,


“There are 16 nationally recognized career clusters ̶ ranging from agriculture and the arts, to STEM and transportation ̶ and dozens of pathways within the clusters. Currently, some 14 million Americans are enrolled in a career or technical education course or program” (Jackson).  


In the last section of his article, Jackson offers “good advice from a state perspective”. In this section he suggests aligning career and technical education with global competency and language proficiency. He also offers advice for, “…states who want to link language and cultural proficiency to career readiness” (Jackson).  


This article is helpful to my topic because it shows what college readiness encompasses from another point of view. It also shows that in order to truly prepare students for a career, special programs must be put into place.



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College And Career Prep To Start In The Third Grade - Forbes

College And Career Prep To Start In The Third Grade - Forbes | Career Readiness and the Common Core State Standards |

"Education from the third grade on could change dramatically when ACT, Inc., launches its newest project."


College and Career Prep to Start in the Third Grade is an article published by This article focuses on ACT testing, which is a type of standardized testing that may be used in 2014 when all states will officially adopt the common core state standards. According to the article ACT testing will begin in the third grade and continue throughout high school, ACT testing is not  designed like other standardized test. The makers of the ACT have a new approach to standardized testing, instead of making testing mandatory every year; they want to make
students feel as though they have control and are not as pressured. As a result, some of the test administered by the ACT will be optional.  


Though this article focuses very much on the idea and the design of the ACT, it is relevant  yo my topic. The ACT will be used to measure the college and career readiness the common core claims to prepare students for. According to the article, 


"The intensity and complexity of the assessments will ratchet up each year, and the youngest students won’t be hit with full-blown standardized testing. But even third graders will be evaluated on career skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication, in addition to academic
ability" (Griswold).


This shows what skills are “needed” to be career ready. The only problem with this is it is only showing career readiness testing on a lower level. What does career readiness testing look like in middle and high schools? You most certainly need more than teamwork, problem-solving and communication to be successful in a career after high school. Are these the only career readiness skills the ACT will be testing for?


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