If you’re looking for a strong business case for common academic content standards, have a look at the video  of the STEM Salon we held last Tuesday. An overflow crowd heard Bob Corcoran , a GE engineer who also heads up the company’s foundation, and Josh Thomasis, a senior staff member in the New York City Department of Education, describe the vital work they are doing together to implement Common Core standards  in the city’s schools.
Here’s how Corcoran explains GE’s support for common standards. “The focus on logical and clear standards is logical, it’s rational, it’s what we would do in a business to be an efficient company. You would not want your aircraft engine made the way that we design teaching….” That belief prompted the GE Foundation to invest $18 million  to support the implementation of Common Core.
He described his shock years ago when he discovered how varied standards were across the country: “As a…process person who has worked on manufacturing processes and engineering processes in our aviation business, I know that when you have variation like that, you have good variation and you have bad variation. The bigger the sample size, the worse the variation.”
For him, Common Core gets at the heart of a problem that has plagued American public schools since they first came on the scene: inequity. If you travel through a district, he said, you can tell “which schools had the best curriculum, which had the worst, based solely on how old the cars in the driveways are…when was the house last painted, and what was the size of the lot.”
His conclusion? Common standards are “a chance to raise the bar on all children.” But they’ll miss their mark if we don’t implement them well. GE has put its money where its mouth is.
See the full video of this event:
GE is a member of Change the Equation.