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[Susan notes: It is always good to help the New York Times editors understand the significance of their own stories.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

The US Department of Education is promoting the highly rigorous and academically-oriented Common Core Standards, intended to provide better preparation for post-high school education.

This isn̢۪t what is needed.

A report from the Heldrich Center, the basis for More Young Americans Out of High School Are Also Out of Work, (June 6), informs us that the main reason for not attending or not finishing college is economic -- about 70% of the high school graduates surveyed said they couldn't afford college or needed to work.

Most grads (70%) understood the need for higher education and many are working to earn enough to pay for it. Heavily academic standards won't help them. About half the grads said their high school equipped them "not very well" or "not well at all" to get their first jobs.

What is needed is affordable higher education, and better preparation in high school for work.


Van Horn, C., Zukin, C., Szeltner, M. and Stone, C. 2012. Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession. John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University.

main reason is economic: table 4,page 12

Most understood the need: figure 9, page 12

half the grads: page 9

Stephen Krashen

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