Six years ago, most states set out to collectively implement high, comparable education standards in math and English language arts. Today, nearly every state has set challenging classroom expectations aligned to college and career readiness, and they have begun to measure student performance to those new levels.
After officially adopting the Common Core State Standards, Oklahoma lawmakers succumbed to political pressure and repealed the standards in 2014, in favor of the inferior Oklahoma Academic Standards. In an analysis of Oklahoma’s new standards, Achieve found that “[I]n both content areas [English language arts and mathematics] the standards fail to serve students, teachers or parents well… [In short], the proposed standards lack the attributes of high quality K-12 standards.”
The Every Student Succeeds Act, which was enacted in December 2015 and permanently replaces No Child Left Behind, ensures state and district leaders have full control over standards and accountability systems. The law requires that states set college- and career-ready standards, and most policymakers have used the moment as an opportunity to continue to raise the bar.
Still, it is critical that parents, teachers, community members and policymakers continue to insist on high learning goals. By doing so, they will ensure all children have access to an education that prepares them for success after high school, no matter where they grow up or go to school, and no matter which path in life they choose to pursue.