Common Core Hasn’t ‘Robbed a Generation’ – It’s Ensuring More Students Are Prepared for College and Careers

In an opinion piece republished by One News Now, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, argues “chances are [Common Core] has robbed a generation” by slowing down the progression of learning and impeding the foundations of a good education.

Yet, states adopted Common Core State Standards precisely because they set rigorous, clear learning goals for all students, ensuring more kids will get and stay on a path that prepares them for college and careers. A 2010 analysis by the Fordham Institute found Common Core State Standards are a big improvement over most states’ previous learning goals and create greater comparability among states and school districts.

Jason Zimba, one of the lead writers of the Common Core math standards, has repeatedly clarified the comments that Wood highlights, stating that the standards set students on a path that makes Algebra II—which is considered a necessity for college-readiness—a target for students. It is clear that Wood fails to grasp that the Common Core rearranged some grade level topics in order to help students develop a greater conceptual understanding of math in the earlier grades – making students stronger in math in the long run.

Zimba explains, “Evidence from international comparisons, domestic research, and major reports, as well as a wide range of expert opinion, affirm that the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are a blueprint for a strong mathematical education. They do this by first erecting a focused, coherent staircase in grades K–8, and then in high school calling for students to learn the math they need for college (recognizing that STEM majors need more, and so do students who want to meet the admissions criteria of top colleges). If students want to go further and gain the additional mathematics they need for STEM majors or admission to a top university, the Common Core, implemented faithfully, will help more of them to do so.”

Implementation of the Common Core has not been perfect. But since voluntarily adopting the standards, state are overwhelmingly sticking with it. Of the 45 states to initially adopt the standards, only one—Oklahoma—has moved to replace the standards with a set of distinctly different learning goals. Instead, states are reviewing, refining and building on the Common Core framework—exactly as the standards were designed.

As Karen Nussle explains, states have weighed the evidence and seen past the rhetoric. They are continuing to implement the Common Core because they set clear, consistent college- and career-ready expectations for students. “Five years after states initiated the creation of Common Core State Standards and voluntarily adopted them, the debate over whether the Standards will survive appears to be settled: Common Core Standards are here to stay.”