Myth vs. Fact 4
Momentum Is Building among States to Ditch Common Core Standards
“As Americans become educated about the controversial Common Core Standards, more states are finding ways to make U-turns to get their students, parents, and teachers out of the nationalized system of standards.” Susan Berry, Breitbart News, June 18, 2014
Correcting the Record: Headlines over the past year, fanned by Common Core opponents, have propagated the idea that states are making a dash for the door when it comes to high education standards. Yet, the fact is that despite more than 18 months of targeted attacks and after two election cycles, all but one of the 45 states to initially adopt Common Core Standards continue to use them or a version tailored to their state-specific needs.
“Across the country a false narrative is perpetuating the idea that conservatives are ready to cede the fight we started years ago for high education standards,” Former governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue wrote in October. “From the headlines and from the bullhorns of commentators, one might well conclude Common Core Standards are all but doomed. Yet, the facts paint a much different picture.”
Gov. Perdue goes on to say, “Some states have rebranded the standards. Others have amended and built on them further, just as they were designed. Neither amount to what many label ‘repeal.’”
As Gov. Perdue points out, in many cases critics have inaccurately conflated states’ calls to review Common Core Standards with wholesale repeal. In fact, the Common Core is designed for states to take control and make adjustments to best suit their students.
“One thing we’ve all agreed on is the importance of high standards,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, one leader to call for a review of the Standards said in October. “For me, it shouldn’t be about the name and what we call it. The battle should be about: Are we going to have high standards or not, and what exactly should those standards be?…That’s one thing you’re never going to hear me backing up on, period.”
Moreover, states that have fully implemented the Common Core Standards are seeing some of the biggest improvements in student outcomes in the country. In Kentucky, the first state to adopt and fully align teaching to the Standards, college-readiness scores and proficiency rates have increased each of the last three years.
“The numbers show, without a doubt, that we are making progress,” education commissioner Terry Holiday said of the gains.
In Tennessee, another early adopter of the Common Core, students made the biggest improvements in college-readiness scores in the state’s history, which ACT president Jon Erickson called “indicative of real academic progress.”
Following steady gains New York math scores, the Daily News wrote, “The chorus of ‘can’t’…was wrong…If responsible adults show fortitude, and if they have the sense to learn from schools that are making the biggest gains, children can and will achieve in ever-greater numbers.”
For most states, this is the first year schools are teaching materials fully aligned to Common Core Standards. Initially scores may fall as the curtain is pulled back on what once passed as “proficient” – just as they did in Kentucky and Tennessee – but as states and school districts continue to hold students to higher expectations, they will undoubtedly replicate the same success enjoyed by those states before them. Common Core Is “Creating Millions of Slaves”
“What do you think Common Core math is about? If you can no longer think critically, then they can do whatever they want. This is slavery. They are breeding an entire new generation of slaves. And I don’t mean that as just the Obama Administration…These guys who are involved in Common Core are enslaving you to giant corporations and the state.” Glenn Beck on The Sean Hannity Show, July 21, 2014
Refuting the claim: Beck’s contention is as puzzling as it is inappropriate. To compare education reform to the injustice suffered by millions of Americans under slavery is in poor taste, to say the least. The national conversation about our children’s future deserves better.
Beyond the crude comparison, Beck’s argument ignores the very principles Common Core Standards are structured on. By evenly raising academic expectations for students, regardless of where they go to school, the Common Core seeks to ensure all young people graduate high school with the skills to lead full and fulfilled lives – whether it’s in college, a career, the military or an entrepreneurial opportunity.
In fact, the Common Core Standards were developed because leaders across the country realized our schools were producing students that lacked the basic critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to succeed after high school. Less than 40 percent of America’s 12th-grade students have the math or reading skills needed for college-level coursework, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
“[W]e have known for a long time that, in far too many states…the existing state standards set the bar far too low, leaving a content and expectations gap between schools and classrooms,” Kathleen Porter-Magee testified before the Wisconsin state legislature in 2013.
For minorities and low-income students, low expectations often reinforced a cycle of poverty. By fourth grade, nearly 80 percent of low-income students are reading below grade level, and nearly 80 percent of these students will need to take remedial coursework upon entering college. Each year remediation costs parents and taxpayers close to $7 billion. That’s one reason why 60 percent of African American parents with children in public schools support Common Core Standards and why two-thirds believe they will better prepare their child for college or a career, according to one recent study.
“By raising standards for everyone, Common Core can help bridge the education achievement gap and create a new reality in which all students are adequately prepared to excel regardless of family income, ethnicity or where they live,” Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, wrote in October, 2014.