The Iowa Core Curriculum, K-12

The World of Media will feature an article on the Iowa Core Curriculum each month. This month's article attempts to answer the question, What is the Iowa Core Curriculum? In her June 3, 2008 letter to Iowa school leaders, Judy Jeffery, the Director of the Department of Education stated that, "The Iowa Core Curriculum specifically identifies essential skills and concepts in literacy, math, science, social studies, and 21st century earning skills. The 21st century learning skills are employability, financial literacy, health literacy, and technology literacy. The Core Curriculum is aligned with Iowa’s statewide core content standards in reading, math, and science, which were adopted by the legislature in 2007.
The essential concepts and skills in the core curriculum that are now mandated for school and school districts in Iowa will not only raise the expectations for what our students should know and be able to do, but they will also assist in increasing our student proficiency. The Iowa Core Curriculum can help students reach this goal because it goes beyond simply putting words on a page. The curriculum has direct implications on teaching and assessment. The essential skills and concepts are just that – essential. A look at what other countries that outperform the United States on international tests clearly indicates that we need to tighten the scope of what is considered core content. At the same time, however, we must go much deeper into student understanding. Going deeper means teachers will need to integrate higher-level thinking, problem solving, relevant-to-life classroom experiences, and timely classroom assessments that impact instruction. The Iowa Department of Education and its partners, which include the Area Education Agencies, will assist Iowa educators with a variety of support, including providing model units of study to demonstrate this approach. In addition, professional development opportunities will help teachers understand and implement authentic intellectual work through their assignments ad student work products." Any questions concerning the Core Curriculum can be addressed to the following Heartland staff: Cindy Yelick, Sharon Kurns, Kim Thuente, Brad Niebling, Lynn McCartney, Becca Lindahl, Linda Hoobin, Teresa Bellinghausen, Julie Hukee, and Jen Riedemann.