Michigan Lawmakers Should Be Leery of Going the Way of Oklahoma

Michigan State Senator Patrick Colbeck recently introduced legislation that would require the state to replace its Common Core Standards with those Massachusetts used in 2008, the Ann Arbor News reports.

“The goals [Common Core State Standards] set out to achieve, which are improved student performance or academic achievement, it’s not achieving,” Sen. Colbeck said. “Beyond that, I think it’s very important from a government control perspective…I’m actually very concerned about making sure that we have Michigan control of our education system.”

Contrary to Sen. Colbeck’s claim, evidence overwhelmingly indicates Common Core State Standards are achieving their purpose. An analysis by Achieve this year found most states significantly closed their “honesty gaps” by implementing high learning goals and high-quality student assessments.

Likewise, a Harvard study concludes, “In the wake of the Common Core campaign, a majority of states have made a dramatic move forward…In short, the Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”

Lawmakers in Michigan would be wise to consider the outcome in Oklahoma—where politically motivated attacks spurred policymakers to replace the Common Core. Last year, an analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success concluded, “While other states are working to provide parents and teachers with better tools measure student development,” Oklahoma officials set their schools on a “rocky path of disruption, uncertainty and internal turmoil.”

A follow-up white paper this spring explains that Oklahoma’s experience reinforces the impossibility of producing education standards equally as rigorous as the Common Core and which bear no resemblance to the Common Core:

“Replacing the Common Core State Standards invariably leads to either modest adjustments and renaming—effectively “rebranding” the Common Core (as in both Indiana and South Carolina)—or, academic standards that are inferior to the Common Core (as in Oklahoma).”