MALDEF Calls on Community Leaders, Parents to Advocate for Equity in Implementation of Common Core State Standards

An important initiative is catching on nationwide to assure that public schools everywhere provide education on the same set of core skills and knowledge. Still, there remains much work to be done in ensuring that implementation of common core state standards is completed in the best way to serve all students. As state budgets for education face serious challenges in virtually every state, public school parents, community leaders and education advocates must be involved and stay informed in order to ensure that implementation achieves this goal.

Did you know that before the Common Core State Standards Initiative each state had its own set of academic standards?
Currently, academic standards for each subject from K-12 grade levels are developed on a state by state basis. States set different standards for universal subjects like math and science, providing a range of benchmarks across the nation on what students should learn and be able to effectively master by the end of each school year. These standards are designed to help parents check their child's achievement and know how to best help them succeed in school.

That is changing through an initiative called Common Core State Standards, where 48 states and the District of Columbia worked together to develop a uniform set of common state standards for English-language arts and mathematics in grades K-12 that prepare students for college and career.

Why is this important to Latinos?
Currently the quality of education varies depending on where students live, and some states have higher standards than others. Common Core State Standards help ensure all students, regardless of what state, city or school district they live in, will have access to a quality education.

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, issued the following statement on the importance of Common Core State Standards:
"The movement toward common core standards is critical to public education in the twenty-first century. With significant family mobility among states and an imperative to compete as a nation in the global economy, ensuring common standards for learning in math and English is essential to our national progress. Because Latinos are an important and growing proportion of the public school population, our community has a particular interest in achieving swift and appropriate implementation of the Common Core State Standards."

How do Common Core State Standards make things better?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative endeavors:

  • To hold ALL students nationwide to the same high quality standards that will help better prepare them for college and successful careers; and
  • To have fewer, clearer, and higher standards that will make it easier for teachers, parents, the community and students to know what students are supposed to learn at each grade level.

Has my state adopted?
Currently, 42 states and the District of Columbia have fully adopted the Common Core State Standards and are in the process of implementing them.

What happens after a state adopts?
Once the Common Core State Standards are adopted, a state’s department of education is charged with developing a plan to teach the new standards.

What can Community Leaders or Parents do to help?
Become involved in your state’s implementation process! Higher standards by themselves are not enough. These standards must be successfully implemented.

In order for the Common Core State Standards to help Latino students, parents and leaders in the community must call on state education authorities and local education authorities to ensure that:

  • There are adequate resources in the plan for the professional development of teachers, adequate student support systems, and parental awareness of the standards;
  • The concerns of communities of color and Native communities are addressed;
  • The standards are aligned to appropriate assessments for reliably measuring student achievement; and
  • Communities of color are included as integral partners in the implementation and evaluation of Common Core State Standards.

How is MALDEF helping advance the implementation of Common Core State Standards?
Through the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), MALDEF is working with other civil rights organizations and local advocates to advocate for implementation plans that include the voices and that address the needs of communities of color and Native communities.

This past January, CHSE convened a two-day event in Los Angeles to kick-off the coalition’s state by state efforts. MALDEF's President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, provided welcoming remarks, as local community and advocacy leaders from across the country gathered to discuss the issue and formed state groups to work on Common Core State Standards implementation in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

Want to learn more about this effort or join our state efforts? Now is the time to join us in our state efforts to help advance the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

For more information, please contact Veronica Rivera, at (202) 293-2828 or, or visit

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund