November 12, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Second Half of $1.25 Billion Going to Schools for Common Core Transition
SACRAMENTO—Schools this week are receiving the second half of a $1.25 billion block grant from the state to support their move to the Common Core academic standards, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
Districts received the first half of the funds in September and the second half—about $622 million—today. They can decide for themselves how to use the funds to train teachers, buy new materials, or purchase technology, all with the purpose of implementing the Common Core State Standards. The total amounts to some $200 per student.
These state-developed standards, which California and 45 other states have voluntarily adopted over the past few years, are designed to provide all students with the deeper learning, critical thinking, and other skills they need to prepare for college and a career.
"California took a major step toward college and career readiness for all our students when we adopted the Common Core back in 2010," said Torlakson, who urged the inclusion of Common Core funding in this year's state budget. "The state made a significant down payment on that commitment with this first block grant—but we must do more. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Capitol to support our schools as they support our kids."
A district-by-district list of funding is available on the California Department of Education Web site.
The release of these funds is the latest of several steps taken in recent weeks and months to continue California's transition to the Common Core State Standards, which outline what students will be expected to know and be able to do at each grade level.
One of the biggest steps forward came last month, when Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 484, legislation that Torlakson sponsored to open the door to modern computer-based assessments designed to measure knowledge and skills, and inform teaching and learning in the classroom.
In addition to AB 484, lawmakers also approved Senate Bill 201 and AB 899, which authorized the State Board of Education to move forward on adopting English language arts/English language development instructional materials and aligning the state's English language development standards with the Common Core math standards.
Last week, the State Board of Education adopted the state's first math framework aligned with the Common Core. The framework provides instructional guidance for teachers and administrators, including grade-level explanations and examples of the standards for mathematics practice and content, integrating mathematical thinking, and conceptual understanding with procedural skills and application.
In between these major developments and on an ongoing basis, the state works to develop training modules, host teacher workshops, produce informational publications, maintain a Common Core State Standards Web site, approve supplemental materials, translate the Common Core State Standards into Spanish, and more.