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What Breitbart Got Wrong on Education Next’s Poll Results about Common Core


Reporting on the latest annual Education Next public opinion survey, Breitbart News’ Susan Berry suggests support for Common Core State Standards fell because parents know the learning goals “are not the ‘rigorous’ program pitched by its proponents.”

“Ever increasingly, parents are realizing that the Common Core Standards lock their children into an inferior education that fails to prepare them for life and for college,” alleges Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project. “There’s no doubt that Common Core will continue to decline in popularity.”

While support for the Common Core brand did fall again this year (even though still as many people support it as oppose it), it doesn’t matter much. States are moving past semantics and doubling down on their support for rigorous and comparable education standards, which was always the mission of the Common Core.

“It’s time to stop fighting about the words ‘Common Core’ and move forward,” Jim Cowen explains. The standards were “always meant to set a floor, not a ceiling, for academic progress” and states that remain committed to high standards and high-quality assessments “are now seeing the rewards of their perseverance.”

Regardless of labels – and, in fact, most states have renamed their learning goals to reflect their ownership – the public supports high standards. Common State Standards have cemented a legacy of raising academic expectations. As a Harvard University study this year points out, “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.”

The Education Next survey finds parents strongly support rigorous education standards that fully prepare students for college and careers. And now, six years after Common Core initiated a nationwide movement towards that goal, states are overwhelmingly moving forward with high classroom expectations. In fact, only one state – Oklahoma – has reverted back to weaker education standards.

An analysis by the Collaborative identifies seven states that have made notable gains on statewide assessments this year, and results that continue to trickle in reinforce that premise further. “Although it’s too early to plant a flag, initial results indicate… Common Core is working,” the memo notes.

Regardless of what they call it, states have recommitted to high standards. This year, zero states passed a full-scale repeal of their academic expectations, marking the second consecutive year in which policymakers refused to bend to opponents. Last fall, Politico reported that high standards have “become the reality on the ground for roughly 40 million students.” That is a huge success, no matter what label is attached.

Likewise, states have implemented meaningful assessments aligned to their learning goals, arming parents and teachers with accurate information. “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable so there can be an honest baseline,” Louisiana Superintendent John White said last year. “That is a fantastic success.”

Berry and others may continue to berate the Common Core, but the reality is that states have already moved on. They have and continue to implement high standards and high-quality assessments, and there is greater comparability among states than ever before. That’s the legacy the Common Core will leave, and it’s good for students and teachers and parents.

About the Collaborative for Student Success

At our core, we believe leaders at all levels have a role to play in ensuring success for K-12 students. From ensuring schools and teachers are equipped with the best materials to spotlighting the innovative and bold ways federal recovery dollars are being used to drive needed changes, the Collaborative for Student Success aims to inform and amplify policies making a difference for students and families.

To recover from the most disruptive event in the history of American public schools, states and districts are leveraging unprecedented resources to make sure classrooms are safe for learning, providing students and teachers with the high-quality instructional materials they deserve, and are rethinking how best to measure learning so supports are targeted where they’re needed most. 

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