September 3, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Directs $622 Million in State Funding to Help School Districts Bring Common Core Standards to Life
SACRAMENTO—Schools opened for the year receiving $622 million in new state funding to support the shift to the Common Core academic standards, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
School districts can decide for themselves how to use their share of the funds to train teachers, buy new materials, and purchase technology to help schools adapt to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which are designed to provide all students with the deeper learning, critical thinking, and other skills they need to prepare for college and a career.
"The start of a school year is always exciting, but this year is something special," Torlakson said. "We're challenging every part of our education system to remodel itself, and, step by step, give students the tools to achieve their dreams. And after years of cuts and turmoil, we're finally able to start making the investments necessary to turn those dreams into a reality."
The funding release represents the first half of $1.25 billion allocated for this purpose, which was included in the state budget by Governor Brown and the Legislature at Torlakson's urging. The second half of the funding will be released in October. The total amounts to $200 per student. A district-by-district list of funding is available on the California Department of Education Web site.
"As a teacher, I'm heartened that our Governor and our lawmakers—amid so many competing needs for resources—made our schools and the children they serve a priority," Torlakson said. "At the Department of Education, we worked hard to honor that commitment by getting these funds to school districts as quickly as possible. Welcome back to school, California—let's show the world what we can do."
California adopted the new standards—which outline what students will be expected to know and be able to do at each grade level—back in 2010.
Torlakson also announced today a new online tool to help school districts develop plans to implement Common Core. Developed by the California Department of Education, the CCSS Systems Implementation Guide includes suggestions and resources for local implementation organized by the seven guiding strategies in the CCSS Systems Implementation Plan for California.
"The Guide takes the guesswork out of implementing a local plan, so teachers and schools can concentrate on their first priority: their students," Torlakson said.
The guiding strategies address:
- High-quality professional development for educators;
- CCSS-aligned instructional resources designed to meet the needs of all students;
- CCSS-aligned assessment systems;
- Working with families and the broader community to integrate Common Core into programs and activities beyond the regular school day;
- Working with higher education and business communities;
- Sharing ideas and resources as CCSS implementation moves forward; and
- Sharing information with all stakeholders.
The Guide also links users to publications, videos, learning modules, and other resources to help districts implement the CCSS and will be updated regularly as new resources become available. For more information on this and other Common Core resources available from the California Department of Education, please visit Common Core State Standards.