Trustees of the State University of New York passed a resolution last week supporting Common Core teaching standards, saying the tougher curricula and tests will better prepare students for college. Good for them.
"SUNY has a vested interest in the advancement of higher standards brought on by Common Core," board chairman Carl McCall said in a statement. "The better prepared students are to take on college-level work, the more successful they will be in college and career." Support for those standards needs to be strong and vocal. Here's why.
The annual report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress last week showed that only 36 percent of 12th-graders were at or above proficiency in reading, and only 26 percent were at or above proficiency in math. Yet, as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pointed out in commenting on the results, the United States is witnessing the highest high school graduation rates in its history.
So more kids are graduating than ever before, but the percentage that are actually ready for college level work is dismal. That means the standards are too low, and the curricula aren't challenging enough.
The switch to Common Core has been hard, both because the work is more difficult and because the rollout was botched by New York State, which made the task of creating curricula more difficult for each district. Nobody supports botched rollouts, but the vast majority of educators, even those complaining about the implementation, supports both the goals of Common Core and the standards themselves.
At some point we need to get past the bickering and concentrate on doing everything possible to empower teachers and students to make Common Core work, so our kids can get the education they need.