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The Daily Dish: The Fifth Anniversary of the Common Core

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June 02, 2015 04:35 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.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers launch of the Common Core State Standards. The K-12 English-language arts and mathematics standards were developed by state leaders in response to mounting evidence and feedback from colleges and universities, employers, and the military that many high school graduates were unprepared for success in college and a career.

In the latest entry to the Core of the Matter blog series from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Jessica Cardichon, senior director of policy and advocacy at the Alliance, reminds readers that the beauty of the common core lies in the various ways it can help struggling students. Cardichon points specifically to the not-so-obvious relationship between the CCSS and drop prevention, writing:

“In simple terms, the CCSS can increase student engagement. Increased student engagement improves student behavior, decreases incidents of student discipline, and increases the likelihood that students will graduate from high school fully prepared for college and career.”

Since their development, the CCSS have been adopted and implemented by more than forty states and the District of Columbia. This marks the first year most states have implemented tests alight with the standards, leading to some anxiety as test results appear lower than normal. But states have shown that those scores will improve with persistence. Kentucky, for example, was the first state to adopt the standards, and has increased its graduation rates from 75 percent to 87 percent – highest among states – as well having boosted its college and career readiness rate from 63 percent from 54 percent in 2013.

But implementation has not been without debate. Education Week’s Catherine Gewertz outlines the two parallel channels of reaction to the standards, among its ‘cheerleaders’ and its ‘critics.’ Those in support – including teachers and policymakers – have experienced “jubilation, realization, humility, exhaustion, and cautious optimism.’

M. Aidan Kelly, a high school teacher and curriculum director in New Orleans, Louisiana and ‘cheerleader’ under Gewertz analysis, explained in a piece for Education Post that even as his state’s Governor works to appeal the CCSS, he supports the standards because they “allow teachers to use the full breadth of their creativity while ensuring all students are taught authentic literacy and logical math.”

Gewertz argues that critics, on the other hand, have reacted to the standards with ‘outrage, criticism, politicization, mobilization, and stagnation.’ Pete O’Mara, columnist for The Times Herald in Michigan might add one more to that list: misunderstanding. O’Mara writes that it is unfortunate that so many has misinterpreted “one of the best solutions for overhauling the education system” as being a “directive from the federal government,” as It was instead, a community and state effort.

Moving forward, rigorous standards like that of the Common Core are in fact what people want for students.  A recent survey conducted by the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF)  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.”

To hear more from educators and state leaders who have worked to implement the Common Core State Standards, check out the Alliance’s Common Core and Equity video series:



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