Common Core: 2014 a Pivotal Year for Needed Reform
NCSF CEO Mashea Ashton writes on The Huffington Post:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ruffled feathers in November with his commentsabout people who oppose the Common Core State Standards. He said a lot of the pushback on Common Core has come from "white suburban moms" who are upset that their children aren't "as brilliant as they thought they were" and their schools aren't "quite as good as they thought they were." Perhaps the remarks were insensitive, but his analysis was spot-on. Common Core is forcing us to realize that education reform isn't just needed to transform our urban schools -- it's desperately needed across the United States. To realize our children's full potential as well as make our schools globally competitive, we have to act now to raise the bar for all students.
At present, too many of our students are graduating from high school not ready for college-level work. Nearly 50 percent of students entering two-year colleges take remedial courses, while 20 percent of students in four-year colleges have to start by making up what they didn't learn in high school. This is unacceptable. Our schools should be preparing students for the rigors of college and career, and too many of them fail to do so.
Equally, if not more troubling, is that our children are falling further behind their global counterparts. Students in the United States are scoring well below the world's best schools in math, reading and science. This isn't restricted to students in poverty, either; middle class students are also lagging behind, as new data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found. In the United States, teenage students ranked behind their counterparts in 23 countries in science and 30 countries in math.
Meanwhile, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its 2013 report card for the nation in November, showing only slight gains in math and reading for students. Even with growth in charter schools and other reform measures nationwide, it's clear we need more rigorous standards across the board. Our students can't wait: the time for reform is now.