Why Race to the Middle? Massachusetts and California K-12 State Standards Far Exceed National Standards Drafts
Similarly weak standards have been implemented in places like Connecticut and West Virginia, with poor results for students. Students in the nation's higher-performing states, such as Massachusetts, California, Texas, Minnesota, and New Jersey have the most to lose. The authors state that "CCSSI, so far, is producing grade-level K-12 standards that are one to two years behind those of high achieving countries."
"This new study underscores the serious pitfalls of the current headlong effort of the Obama administration to push states to adopt common, i.e. national, standards," said Lance Izumi, Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. "The drafting process has been opaque and the draft standards are not well written or sufficiently rigorous, which is especially disturbing for states like California and Massachusetts that already have high standards," said Izumi. "California went through a very transparent and deliberative process to adopt its rigorous standards, so it would be tragic if these well-functioning and highly praised state standards were replaced by academically inferior national standards."
"Based on an analysis of the drafts and the process used to create them," write Wurman and Stotsky, "this White Paper concludes that CCSSIÃ¢€™s initiative has so far failed to produce standards that promise to improve both the education of all American students and AmericaÃ¢€™s competitive position in the global economy. Put simply, Common Core College Readiness will not get you into college."
Why Race to the Middle? finds that the rush to move from 50 state standards to a single set of standards for all 50 states in less than one year, as well as the lack of transparency in CCSSI's procedures, have excluded the kind and extent of public discussion merited by the huge policy implications of such a move.
Each state board of higher education must ask the math and English faculty at its public colleges and universities, especially those who teach freshman courses, to review the "public comment" draft from CCSSO, due to be released in March, and present their comments directly to the board, the Governor, and the state legislature. High school math and English teachers in each state, especially Massachusetts and California, need to compare their current standards with whatever appears in the March "public comment" draft and let their governors, Congressional representatives, state legislators, and state boards of education know if its standards are as good as or better than their current standards.
Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to lead the intellectual climate in the Commonwealth on important policy issues by supporting scholarship on empirically proven solutions and by challenging conventional wisdoms.
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