We live in an age of exploding knowledge and rapid change in technology, information exchange, and communications. The changes which are taking place in our society have increased the demand for internationally competitive workers and for an educational system designed to meet that demand. Because today's students will be employed through the middle of the twenty-first century, they will need increasingly advanced levels of knowledge and skill. To gain and retain high-wage employment that provides job satisfaction, they will also need to continue to learn throughout their lives.
To compete in a global, information-based economy, the students we prepare must be able to solve real problems, reason effectively, and make logical connections. The world of work they enter will feature products and factories that are designed by mathematical models and computer simulations, computers that control production processes and plants, and robots. Our state and country need people with the skills to develop and manage these new technologies.
The first step in preparing individuals for the workplace, for further learning, and for daily living is to set internationally competitive standards which define educational excellence for all students. The need exists to redefine the mission for all parts of the educational system. From the schoolhouse to the statehouse, we must focus on high student academic achievement. Our children and our society will be better served by higher expectations, by curricula which go far beyond basic skills, and by programs which include a variety of learning models and devote a greater percentage of instructional time to problem-solving, critical thinking, and active learning.
All students should be challenged to reach their maximum potential. For
many students the achievement of these standards will indeed be challenging.
However, if we do not provide such a challenge, a blueprint for excellence,
we will do our students a great disservice by leaving them unprepared
for the future. The standards contained in this document aim to define
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