Since adopting higher academic standards, many states have reviewed their learning goals, and made adjustments to customize them to meet their state’s individual needs. Unfortunately, this has left some confused about whether the states are sticking with Common Core or leaving it behind.
The fact is, most states (45 to be exact), the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools have adopted high standards for all students, and most have high-quality assessments to measure students to those levels. They now have more accurate information about student performance, and greater comparability than ever before.
These states have done exactly as was intended when the Common Core State Standards were initially adopted: they have conducted reviews and made some adjustments. The Common Core State Standards were developed as a floor, not a ceiling. States were always encouraged to build on them – and that’s what most states have done. They’ve reviewed their standards to ensure that they work for all students and teachers in their schools.
So far, the only state that has replaced the Common Core with substantively different learning goals, is Oklahoma. And lawmakers, experts and educators roundly agree that the new standards are inferior.
An independent analysis that compared Oklahoma’s resulting education standards to those of 25 other states concluded: “In both content areas the standards fail to serve students, teachers or parents well…[and] will fail to adequately prepare Oklahoma student for postsecondary success…Worst of all, these standards will disadvantage Oklahoma students compared to their peers in other states; students in Oklahoma will be less prepared to successfully enter college and careers.”
The Common Core State Standards were developed by educators and experts from across the country with the goal of helping more students graduate high school fully prepared for college or a career. As such, they are built on the best evidence of what students need to know and be able to reach that point. Teachers, business leaders and specialists continue to give the standards high marks for setting clear, rigorous learning goals that create a path leading straight to college or a good job.
As Fordham Institute President Michael Petrilli has noted, “states that have thus far attempted this effort — replacing Common Core with something even stronger — have found that it is quite difficult to achieve.” States that have tried to back away from the standards have found that they’ve invested a lot of time and taxpayer money to create standards that look a lot like the Common Core.
Parents remain fundamentally committed to college- and career-ready standards. No matter where a child goes to school, families want their kids to have access to an education that will equip them to meet their potential and succeed. According to a poll by the education advocacy site The 74 Million, nearly seven in 10 voters support consistent education standards that prepare young people for college and careers.
For all the bluster, opponents have failed to make a compelling case that the Common Core State Standards are defective – or that states are leaving en masse. As we have seen this year, states are continuing to move forward with high standards, and are starting to see results.