The Common Core State Standards Initiative is coordinated by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The common core state standards were released in draft form in 2009. The standards are internationally benchmarked and backed by evidence showing that students' mastery of them leads to preparedness for higher education and the workforce. The initiative defines college and career readiness as the ability "to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce-training programs" (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010).

The NGA and the CCSSO say the standards were developed with input from teachers, school administrators, and experts. The groups also received nearly 10,000 comments providing insight that shaped the final drafts of the English language arts and mathematics standards released in June 2010.

"The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live," say the NGA and CCSSO (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010).