The Common Core State Standard: What Career Development Practitioners Need to Know

By Niel Carey and Rich Feller

Career counselors and specialists should be in discussions about the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, which aim to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn”. Developed through the leadership of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO) in 2010, the standards are an evidence- and research-based list of the knowledge and skills that k-12 students are expected to learn in in preparation for college and careers. State and local school systems remain responsible for designing the curriculum and the methods for achieving the standards. The standards grew out of the realization that higher levels of education and competence are required to be engaged citizens, lifelong learners and employees. Within a global society and economy, the achievement levels of American students need to be clarified, increased and aligned across school district and state borders.


In the Center on Education Policy’s report, Year Two of Implementing the Common Core Standards: States’ Progress and Challenges, as of June 2013, 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the standards. Minnesota has adopted the English Language Arts standards. Currently Texas, Nebraska, Virginia, Alaska have not adopted the Common Core State Standards. Many states are now taking steps to implement the standards. School boards and school systems are formulating the policies, informing the public of the nature and scope of the standards, conducting staff training and developing or procuring the curriculum materials needed for implementation.


As implementation and discussion of the Standards’ merits continues, it is important to understand the career implications which support the Standards. With the rapid changes in the economy and the resulting changes in the availability of jobs, the ability to access career opportunities is essential. Relocating to where the quality of the education system is unknown may deter individuals from making that move thereby passing up opportunities for employment or for career advancement.


Manufacturing’s importance and productivity in the United States is clear. However, the jobs required in contemporary manufacturing facilities are likely to be high level and well-paid positions. The software design and programming, robotics and automation design, and management knowledge needed are very different from the antiquated assembly line model which led to extensive outsourcing and loss of American jobs.


One of the most convincing arguments for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards may be made by military families whose duties may involve assignments in ten or more locations during the course of a career. The social and cultural adjustments by the military families are challenging enough. Participating in education programs with unknown or inconsistent merit causes concern. The Standards could provide a reassuring consistency in education programs for their children.


With change and uncertainty throughout the global society, there are important constants in American democracy. Our education system in large measure helps to determine who will flourish and prosper in this complex and competitive society. The Common Core State Standards are an important step in strengthening the education fabric of our society thereby enabling our students, scholars and workers to achieve, to compete and to advance in a rapidly changing global environment.



Common Core State Standard Initiative. Implementing the Common Core State Standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org



Niel CareyE. Niel Carey, serves as the chair the NCDA Government Relations Committee, He was the NCDA Executive Director Emeritus having served as the first executive director of NCDA from 1984 to '94, and, prior to that, the Coordinator of Career Education for Maryland. Carey was a secondary math and science teacher and department head, high school counselor and department head in Baltimore county, MD; NCC and NCCC (ret) certificates; adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, Loyola Maryland University and Johns Hopkins University. He can reached at Enielcarey@aol.com.



Rich FellerRich Feller, Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling and Career Development and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. A Fellow and President (2012-2013) of the National Career Development Association, he received NCDA’s Eminent Career Award in 2009. He can be reached at Rich.Feller@ColoState.EDU




Printer-Friendly Version

1 Comment

Janet Wall   on Wednesday 10/02/2013 at 02:02 PM

I am all for the Common Core as it should improve our economic competitiveness. I am not sure the military issue mentioned in the article is relevant as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools have had a unified curriculum that is monitored for implementation and quality, and has been for years. DODEA students have ranked #1 or tied for #1 when comparing NAEP results to other states. I tried to see if this was still true, but the government shutdown has shutdown access to this information.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.