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The Daily Dish: Success for Struggling Students Through the Common Core State Standards

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May 11, 2015 03:33 pm


The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have sparked much debate in both the education and political world since their development in 2009. But despite opposition from a handful of states and political figures – there are states that have successfully implemented the standards and shown through academic growth why the more rigorous curriculum is a necessity of struggling students.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards, and has increased its graduation rates to the highest among states as well having boosted its college and career readiness rate for schools designated as needing improvement.  A recent article from The Wall Street Journal’s Caroline Porter examines how Kentucky educators and lawmakers managed to avoid significant pushback within the state over the new standards.

“At the end of the day, we put our political hatreds aside,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told The Wall Street Journal.  “It’s going to be good for our kids and make us more competitive.”

Since adopting the CCSS, Kentucky’s graduation rate has increased from 75 percent to 87 percent and the state’s college and career readiness rate increased to 63 percent from 54 percent in 2013. In the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Common Core and Equity video series, Kentucky education leaders spoke to Charmaine Mercer, former vice president of Policy and Advocacy at the Alliance, about how they work to ensure schools are fully resourced to support the shifts that need to be made with Common Core. Click the embedded link to watch the discussion:

As Porter notes, officials in Kentucky made the decision to delay the use of student test scores in teacher performance evaluations, a move that could be attributed to the keeping “resistance to the standards at a minimum.”

Dean Vogel, outgoing president of the California Teachers Association, would agree. In an on-going series with EdSource on educators experience with the CCSS in California, Vogel said that it is important to give teachers the time to properly implement the standards, going “slowly” if these two elements are to be “brought together in a very thoughtful way.”

Despite successes like Kentucky, state legislation that opposes the CCSS does exist. A new study by Brookings Institution scholars Ashley Jochim and Lesley Lavery indicates at least 238 negative bills relating to CCSS were heard in state legislatures between 2011 and 2014. Still, as an article from Education Week points out, the researchers themselves acknowledge, “It can be easy to overstate the level of opposition to the common core, since many states have made only superficial or minor changes to the standards in the face of pushback.”

But, as a recent survey conducted by the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF) finds, Americans do want these kinds of standards for schools. The survey revealed 85 percent of respondents believe the United States “needs consistent standards to help ensure higher expectations for students” in addition to nearly 75 percent of those surveyed believing all states should have the same standards in math and English “so students have to meet the same expectations no matter where they live.”

As Kristen Loschert, editor and writer at the Alliance, notes in a recent blog, the disconnect between the support for higher standards and the support for the common core comes down to “A basic lack of awareness.” Loschert concludes that it is “time to stop debating the merits of the Common Core” and recognize they are exactly what Americans want for students.


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