The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) supports the Common Core State Standards and strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education opportunities for all Tennessee children. As part of Tennessee’s Expect More, Achieve More Coalition, TSIN joins a statewide alliance of over 400 business, community, and education organizations in Tennessee working for high academic standards in public education. The Coalition is building statewide and local support, engagement, and awareness of our state’s efforts to raise the bar in the classroom with Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards. TSIN shares the Coalition’s goal that every student graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.
The Common Core is a roadmap of the essential concepts students should learn in each grade. For mathematics, it provides a guide for teaching that lays out the topics in a logical progression so that a student’s knowledge can build on itself. By focusing on fewer topics, students gain a deeper understanding of each topic and learn how to relate what they are learning to real-life problem solving. Similar to building a pyramid, a strong foundation is needed before the upper levels can be added. The Common Core for mathematics does just this. It provides a guide for teachers, curriculum directors and schools to use in conjunction with their curriculum to ensure that when each student leaves his or her grade, the student is prepared for more advanced mathematics and learning to follow.
Through building content knowledge in STEM, Tennessee students are gaining 21st century skills. Employers value workers who can apply critical thinking and creative problem skills to solving tomorrow’s questions. A strong foundation in STEM will open doors to higher paying jobs and greater opportunity over a lifetime.
In November, Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee had the largest academic growth on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) of any state, making Tennessee the fastest improving state in the nation. We celebrate these achievements, but we cannot stop here. There is more work to be done and the continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards is a step in the right direction.