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June 26, 2009

Governor will encourage new Commissioner of Education to also sign on, once that official is named by State Board of Education

Gov. Nixon commits to Missouri joining other states in developing Common Core Standards for grades K-12

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today said he is committed to the State of Missouri participating in the development and adoption of a common core of state standards in English language arts and mathematics for elementary and secondary students. The Governor today signed a Memorandum of Agreement as the first step for Missouri to join in the nationwide, state-led process to develop standards based on research and evidence-based learning.

"Missouri has been a leader in developing high standards and assessments, and will continue in this role," Gov. Nixon wrote in a letter accompanying the signed Memorandum of Agreement and sent to the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices. "I look forward to the State of Missouri participating in the development of these standards as we help our students prepare for the challenges of the 21st Century global economy."

In addition to the Governor's signature, the Memorandum of Agreement requires the signature of the state's chief education official for Missouri to be a fully committed participant. Missouri's Commissioner of Education, Dr. Kent King, passed away in January. Since that time, there has been an interim Commissioner and an ongoing search for a new Commissioner.

"Initially we were going to wait until our State Board of Education had named a new Commissioner of Education before determining whether we would sign on," the Governor wrote. "I believe, however, that the development of Common Core Standards is important to warrant taking this initial step and signing on in my capacity as Governor."

The Common Core Standards Initiative is being jointly led by the NGA Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It builds directly on recent efforts of leading organizations and states that have focused on developing college- and career-ready standards and ensures that these standards can be internationally benchmarked to top-performing countries around the world. The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state's standards in English language arts and mathematics.

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