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Michaud: Common Core builds its coalition

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L.

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher delivers her fourth annual State of the University Address at The Egg in Albany, N.Y. (Jan. 14, 2014) Credit: Cindy Schultz/Albany Times Union

Common Core supporters continue to build their coalition, though they've given detractors quite a head start.

The contentious public education overhaul, which was introduced in schools beginning in 2010, was endorsed this week by a new national coalition of 200 college and university leaders from 33 states.

Announcing the formation of Higher Ed for Higher Standards, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, "These standards are good for our students, our states and our country ... in the 21st century global economy."

She said "misinformation" is is spurring educators to line up in favor of the Common Core standards. Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said he joined the coalition because the Common Core standards have great promise for better preparing students for college.

Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina recently repealed Common Core standards at the insistence of their Republican governors. In fact, the standards are sustaining attacks from right and left, with conservatives claiming they're a federal overreach and liberals predicting they will erode teachers unions.

With her leadership on this issue, Zimpher is emerging more fully as an Obama administration ally. She visited the White House in January, when she and President Barack Obama found much to agree on: revamping student financial aid, greater transparency about loan and grant options, and heightened prevention of campus sexual assault.

Anne Michaud is interactive editor for Newsday Opinion.