Madame Chairwoman Schroeder and Members of the Colorado State Board of Education,
As a network of business leaders who want to ensure all of Colorado’s children are educated to their greatest potential, Colorado Succeeds is dedicated to the advancement of rigorous academic standards.
We know that today’s workforce is globally connected, network-based, knowledge-based, and rapidly evolving. The labor market will continue to be disrupted by automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence as our economy enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This new era of rapid technological change, also known as the “Age of Agility,” will require individuals to constantly evolve their knowledge, skills, and behaviors to effectively meet workplace and civic needs. Colorado students cannot fall behind.
As our economy demands more, employers continue to face significant challenges in finding the skilled talent to meet workforce needs. A recent survey we conducted of employers indicates that 77 percent of employers said it has been difficult to hire people with the right skills for open positions, and 63 percent have found it specifically problematic to find workers with STEM skills including data analytics, computer science, and engineering.
The adoption of rigorous science academic standards is one of many ways to help students develop the skills and competencies demanded by the economy. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) focus on applied learning skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and developing innovative solutions. We believe the NGSS are better aligned to the skills and competencies demanded by Colorado employers and will better prepare Colorado students to face the dynamic changes in the economy, society, and world. In addition, a technical working group, convened by the National Research Council, conducted an independent examination of NGSS and concluded that the new standards provide the strongest scientific guidance to base new K-12 standards.
While we applaud the Board’s decision to adopt the NGSS, we urge a strong focus on
implementation and professional support for educators to ensure these new standards translate to improvements for students in the classroom.
President, Colorado Succeeds