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[Susan notes: This fine letter points out that the Common Core's pledge to graduate all students 'college and career ready' rests on wordplay, not reality. No evidence for it whatsoever.


Published in New York Times

To the editor

The emphasis is on the politics of the Common Core standards in As G.O.P. Wedge, the Common Core Cuts Both Ways (front page, April 20) and David Brooks's column When the Circus Descends (April 18). Let's focus instead on the policy's substantive problems.

First, decades of standards-based reforms have not improved high school achievement, according to trend data from the National Assessment of Education Progress. Therefore, the Common Core's pledge to graduate all students "college and career ready" rests on wordplay, not reality.

Second, there is no evidence that higher standards will improve equity. States with and without high standards have enormous gaps in student achievement, much of that attributable to a child poverty rate of 22 percent.

Third, some $5 billion has been pledged by philanthropies and the federal government to advance the Common Core. Our research shows that much of this is being filtered through schools, while benefiting for-profit and nonprofit service providers. An apt metaphor for what's taking place is not a circus, per Mr. Brooks, but rather a feeding frenzy.

Ms. Kornhaber is an associate professor at Penn State College of Education, and Mr. Barkauskas and Ms. Griffith are graduate students there.

Mindy Kornhaber, Nik Barkauskas, Kelly Griffith

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