SANTA ANA, Calif. – The state of California took an enormous financial and academic gamble by adopting the new Common Core standards, according to the Orange County Register.
There are a number of obvious problems that should make state leaders wonder if the estimated $16 billion investment it will take to fully implement the standards will be worth it, the newspaper wrote.
One issue is the transition from current state standardized tests to Common Core tests. The state has cancelled the current testing program and won’t have any data from state Common Core tests until the end of 2015, according to the Register. That’s a long time to go without having updated information about student progress, particularly with a new program in place that many students will struggle with.
Common Core will also force some school districts – as well as entire states – to actually lower their academic standards, the editorial said.
“Common Core has caused several states with higher standards to lower them,” the Register wrote. “Instead of some states setting the bar higher and providing a positive example for the rest of the nation, most states will now accept mediocre and uniform one-size-fits-all standards.
“For example, until recently, California required every 8th grader to take algebra. The California standard was a tougher requirement than the now-adopted Common Core math standards. There is evidence that this tougher math standard was making California students more college ready in math. Since 1997, California State University freshmen enrollment has grown from 25,000 to 50,000, yet the number of freshmen students enrolled in remedial math has dropped from 54 percent to 30.5 percent in 2012. It is difficult to understand how lowering math standards under Common Core will make students even more college ready.”
The editorial also notes that Massachusetts, always one of the top performing academic states, has been forced to lower its standards for Common Core.
“According to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, Common Core standards reduced by 60 percent the amount of classic literature, poetry and drama that students in Massachusetts will now read,” it said.
Finally, it’s not clear that Common Core standards will have a positive academic impact in any given academic discipline, the newspaper wrote.
“When the Fordham Foundation was comparing current state standards to the Common Core standards, California received an “A” in English language arts, while the Common Core received a B-minus. California received an “A” in mathematics while the Common Core received an A-minus. Yet CaIifornia remains one of the lowest performing states in the nation?”
What does that say about Common Core? Is it really designed to push the nation back to the top of the world list in academic achievement, or it is designed to keep all students across the nation working at the same pace, even if that means many top students have to slow down?