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Common Core State Standards Level the Playing Field ~ Matt Moll

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After teaching for many years in Maryland and Indiana, Matt Moll is currently a middle school administrator at one of only two certified Leader in Me schools in the state of Michigan.  Matt currently holds 19 K-12 Administrator Certificates via the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC).  Previously, Matt was part of a leadership team that led a metro Detroit high school from a Priority School Rating to a Reward School Rating.  Matt is a first generation college student who has a passion for public education and the role education plays in future opportunities for all students.  Matt enjoys reading, traveling, and watching his three boys play sports.
It is an exciting time to be a public school educator.  Let me repeat that phrase, “It is an exciting time to be a public school educator!”  As some of you wipe the coffee from your shirt and re-read that sentence, I’ll tell you why I am more excited now than I was when I first entered the profession 14 years ago.  I am excited because the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are leveling the playing field for students in Michigan and across the country. During the course of my career, I have taught students in Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, and Indiana.  Students in all those states deserve a strong public education that teaches them a common set of skills that are challenging and designed to prepare them for the 21st century. The CCSS do just that.

I grew up in a family that was transient due to my father’s profession and I attended five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school in multiple cities and three different states.  Because my parents knew the importance of a strong public education, they did their best to choose school districts that had strong schools. The districts that I attended were all different when it came to what I was expected to know when I arrived and what I was expected to know when I left.

I suffered from the differences in quality and expectations in public schools.  Even as a child, I recognized the differences vastly different expectations at each school, and this frustrated me; even then I felt that all students deserved to be taught and held accountable to the same set of skills. I can remember moving in 3rd grade from a school focused on students learning that particular state’s history to another school that expected me to know more about the branches of the federal government. That was a tough year for me, not only because I was a new student in a new state, but because I felt that I was being judged by a different set of rules than the other students. The CCSS are addressing the problems I faced.

My childhood educational experiences led me to become a teacher and now a middle school administrator. As a child, I was blessed with parents who had the ability and forethought to consider strength of schools when moving around the country.  As an adult, I can’t help but think about the number of transient students in this country that don’t have that luxury.  Our country and our states need to provide students with a strong, rigorous, and common set of achievable goals, while helping transient families achieve a strong public education. I can tell you from my experience that the Common Core State Standards are making that a reality.