Columbia, Mo., public schools officials have revised curriculum in accordance with Common Core State Standards, which they hope will address literacy deficits through its emphasis on critical thinking, reading and writing skills. The standards require the reading of more nonfiction and higher levels of literacy, reflecting content and skill levels needed for college, military or civilian workplaces. "You've seen literacy explode and the demands for literacy explode. And that hasn't been matched in your typical setting, K through 12," said Nick Kremer, Columbia schools' curriculum coordinator for language arts and social studies.

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