Common Core Standards Daily Update // December 18, 2014

News You Can Use:

Achieve: “Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work?”: A new study by Achieve finds about half of recent high school graduates report gaps in their preparation for college or a career and that the perceived rigor of high school has gone largely unchanged over the past decade. “Recent high school graduates are telling us that they left high school unprepared for the expectations they faced in college or in the workplace,” said Sandy Boyd, COO of Achieve. 83% of college students and 81% of “non-students” reported at least some gaps in one or more subject areas, and nearly half said they had large gaps. An overwhelming 87% of recent graduates said they would have worked harder if their school had set higher academic standards and raised expectations about coursework. Students who had high academic expectations were more likely to feel extremely or very well prepared for college and the working world, and students who took higher levels of math required significantly less remediation upon entering college. 77% of respondents supported having an assessment late in high school to identify what students should need to do to prepare for college or a career. “As recent graduates said, when schools set rigorous expectations of students, they can and will rise to the challenge,” Boyd said.

What It Means: The Achieve study reinforces the importance of setting high standards and classroom expectations for students in order to prepare them for college or a career. Only one in four students believe their school sets appropriately high standards to prepare students for the challenges after high school. As Geoff Garin of Hart Researchputs it, “Many students are able to easily obtain a high school diploma, but too many find themselves unprepared once they arrive in college or in the working world.”



Correcting the Record:

Washington Post: “Rand Paul: Jeb Bush’s Common Core Support Would Be ‘Big Problem’ in Primary”: On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul said Gov. Bush’s support for CCSS could cost him in the primary election. “I think most conservative Republicans think that education should be more at the local and state level. So yeah, I think it will be a big problem,” Sen. Paul told the Washington Post. In a recent speech Gov. Bush said, “There is no question we need higher academic standards and — at the local level — diverse, high-quality content and curricula. And in my view, the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms.”

Where They Went Wrong: Common Core is a voluntary, state-based, state-led effort to raise education standards, with decisions about curriculum being made at the state and local level. Ironically, Common Core seems to be exactly what Sen. Paul is calling for, yet he criticizes Gov. Bush’s support. As the midterm elections demonstrated, for candidates who are able to articulate the importance of high education standards, support for CCSS is not a political liability but an asset. Despite more than 18 months of targeted attacks, supports of CCSS easily won election and reelection last month, and after two national elections all but one of the 45 states to initially adopt CCSS continue to use the