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The Economic Case for the Common Core State Standards

Right now, the U.S. education system is not preparing enough students for success in college and a career.

Too many students fail to graduate on time.

On average, more than 1 million students fail to graduate on time each year.1

Among those who do graduate, too many aren't prepared for college-level work.

Half of all undergraduates pay for remedial courses to cover what they should have learned in high school, at a cost of nearly $7 billion annually.2

And too many aren't prepared for the jobs that await them.

Eighty-eight percent of employers say employees need higher levels of learning and deeper knowledge.3

Ensuring that students graduate from high school and college pays big at the individual and community level.

The median earnings of a bachelor's-degree recipient during a forty year full-time working life is 65 percent higher than that of high school graduate.4

If everyone from the Class of 2012 had graduated from high school, the nation's economy would likely have benefited from $263 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes.5

The Common Core State Standards Will Help Ensure That Students Graduate from high school prepared for both college and a career.

These state-developed standards set consistent guidelines for what students should know at each grade level so they graduate with the knowledge and skills - such as active listening, reading comprehension, critical thinking and writing - that colleges and employers are looking for.6

Nationwide, 77 percent of math and English language arts teachers believe that the Common Core State Standards will positively influence their students' ability to think critically and use reasoning skills.7

Let's seize this opportunity and support the implementation of the common core

We must all support teachers and students as our schools work hard to meet the challenge of implementing the new standards - our students and economy will benefit.



Editorial Projects in Education, “Diplomas Count 2012: National Graduation Rate Keeps Climbing; 1.1 Million Students Still Fail to Earn Diplomas,” special issue, Education Week 31, no. 34 (2012).


J. Scott-Clayton, P. M. Crosta, and C. R. Belfield, Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation (Washington, DC: the National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012), (accessed February 27, 2014).


The Association of American Colleges and Universities, Raising the Bar: Employers’ View of College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn (Washington, DC: Hart Research Associates, 2010), (accessed February 27, 2014).


S. Baum, J. Ma, K. Payea, Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society (New York: The College Board, 2013), (accessed February 27, 2014).


The Alliance for Excellent Education estimated the additional lifetime income if one class of dropouts were to graduate by using an economic input-output model created by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.


A. Carnevale, N. Smith, J. Strohl, Recovery: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2020 (Washington, DC: Georgetown Public Policy Institute Center on Education and the Workforce, 2013), (accessed February 27, 2014).


Scholastic, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “Primary Sources,” (accessed February 27, 2014).

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.