05/23/2013 08:49 am ET Updated Jul 23, 2013

Rediscovering What Education Is All About

It's been said that Jean-Jacques Rosseau "discovered" the child, as far as something to study. Perhaps it is time for us to rediscover the child, and make sure the student is always the focus of our efforts in education reform.

If you've been in education for more than a few years, you know the focus of education reform changes with the seasons. Test taking, teacher preparation, expensive buildings and tools have all been the focus of past education reform efforts. While well meaning, when we take our eye off the prize in education, we miss important opportunities to improve education for all students. Indeed, the prize here is the student who graduates, and is well-prepared for college, career and life.

Most recently, common core standards have been the focus of education reform efforts. Everyone is talking about them in education circles. There has been a lot of fuss made about the idea that schools aren't ready to implement these standards. The reasons given for needing to delay implementation of common core standards do not connect with reality. Teachers and principals need time to prepare. (Professional development and training has been ongoing to teachers.) Schools aren't ready. (Schools have been preparing for common core standards for years now.) Only 46 states have approved use of the standards. (Forty-six states is about is good as it gets!)

To determine whether or not they should be implemented now, I ask a simple question. What about the children, will common core standards benefit them? When the debate is framed around the children we serve, the answer takes no pondering for me. It's clear, and almost everyone involved agrees that common core standards will best serve the students in the long-term.

We have spent so much time preparing teachers, and funding common core standards. Teachers have spent countless hours in professional development related to the standards, and many teachers are now assessed using the standards. The investment has been made, and it is time to take the plunge and commit to common core standards.