A Sense of Urgency

In a new blog post from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Andy Smarick writes:

"A new report on state-level implementation of Common Core merits some attention—but less for its top-line findings and more for how it confirms what I’m now calling the “Common Core Implementation Gap.” That’s the miles of daylight between the platitudes about the new standards’ “dramatic,” “transformational” nature and the distressing reality of implementation."

It's a worthwhile read. You can find it in its entirety here: http://educationnext.org/the-common-core-implementation-gap/

He ends the piece with a call to states to get on the ball and figure out implementation. He says:
"But the bell has rung. It's go time." 

As I read, I could feel my blood pressure rise and in my head I kept thinking "YES, YES!"  States do need to launch coordinated and thorough efforts so that successful implementation is not just a goal, but a reality. But something inside of me also repeated, "People need to know why successful implementation of Common Core is so important!" There is more at stake than states just failing at another reform effort and Common Core being chalked up to another loss in the policy churn game. The success of Common Core is much more urgent than that.  And so here it is; the stark reality of why Common Core implementation and its success are of the utmost importance: 

  • "Up to fifty percent of all college students who enter a 2 or 4 year college or university take remedial courses in math of English.
  • Only 22% of those students earn their degree in 8 years. 
  • Students of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and students who are non-native English speakers are over-represented in these remedial courses."  (Ed First, 2010; Atwell, Lavin, Domina, 2006)
  • Approximately 90% of the jobs in the fastest-growing occupations require some level of postsecondary education and training. Eighty million to 90 million adults today—about half of the workforce—do not have the skills required to get or advance in jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage.”
  •  (US Chamber of Commerce, 2011) 

The achievement gap that persists in K-12 schools keeps persisting in college and career. So, yes, "It's go time." Kids are waiting and we as a nation can not continue to fail them. 

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