Academic Standards

High School Graduation

Houston ISD/Dave Einsel:

Voluntary Standards Can Provide Students with Tools for Success in College and Career

The No Child Left Behind Act required each state to define academic standards to apply to all students. One result was 50 different sets of standards across the country.

In 2010, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the Common Core State Standards, which established a shared set of academic expectations for English language arts and mathematics intended to help public school students prepare for college and careers. To date, the Common Core standards have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Please read our issue brief for more details about Common Core and NSBA’s support for a limited role for the federal government.

Talking Points for Local School Board Members

Use these points to communicate the key issues about academic standards to other school board members, the press, and your members of Congress:

  • All students need rigorous academic standards so that they can succeed in college and careers. The voluntary adoption of the Common Core is one way to provide this preparation.
  • High academic standards, including the Common Core standards, need to be aligned with strong curricula and validated through reliable systems of assessments that fairly and accurately reflect the performance of students, schools, and school districts.
  • When states, rather than the federal government, lead the development and implementation of academic standards, there is more flexibility for local communities.
  • The federal government can play an important role by providing funding for research and support for states at their request to assist with implementing and assessing rigorous standards.

NSBA’s Position

NSBA opposes federal mandates to impose any single set of standards on states and strongly urges Congress to provide maximum authority and flexibility to the states regarding academic standards. Read more


Common Core State Standards set forth academic benchmarks for English language arts and mathematics and reflect knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college and career. Read More

NSBA’s Actions

Read about NSBA’s actions regarding the Common Core State Standards: Congressional testimony, policy statements, and grassroots calls to action. Read More

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