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Embrace The Common Core

September 10, 2014

In K-12 education, there is nothing more controversial than the Common Core State Standards, national academic standards in English and math. Adopted by more than 40 states, they were developed, in part, to address concerns that American students were falling behind their foreign counterparts and graduating high school without the necessary skills for college and the workforce. But is this the reform we’ve been looking for? Has the federal government overreached and saddled our schools with standards that have been flawed from the start? Or will the Common Core raise the bar and improve the quality of our children’s education?

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Embrace The Common Core

September 09, 2014

In K-12 education, there is nothing more controversial than the Common Core State Standards, national academic standards in English and math. Adopted by more than 40 states, they were developed, in part, to address concerns that American students were falling behind their foreign counterparts and graduating high school without the necessary skills for college and the workforce. But is this the reform we’ve been looking for? Has the federal government overreached and saddled our schools with standards that have been flawed from the start? Or will the Common Core raise the bar and improve the quality of our children’s education?

Frederick Hess

August 01, 2014

An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include Cage-Busting Leadership, Education Unbound, and Common Sense School Reform. He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind. A former high school teacher, Hess currently teaches at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania and serves as executive editor for the influential education journal Education Next.

Carol Burris

August 01, 2014

Carol Burris, Ed.D. has been the principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York since 2000. She was named the 2013 NASSP New York High School Principal of the Year and the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the New York State School Administrators Association. In addition to leading her diverse suburban high school which is renowned for giving all students challenging curriculum, Carol has authored or co-authored three books as well as numerous journal articles on equity and excellence in schools. Carol is a staunch advocate of school and classroom desegregation. At the same time, she is an outspoken opponent of many of the Race to the Top reforms, including the Common Core. Carol frequently blogs on Valerie Strauss’s “Answersheet,” which appears in the Washington Post.

Michael Petrilli

August 01, 2014

Mike Petrilli is an award-winning writer and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of the country’s most influential education-policy think tanks. He is the author of The Diverse Schools Dilemma and co-editor of Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core. Petrilli is also a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and executive editor of Education Next. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg View, and Wall Street Journal and has been a guest on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and Fox, as well as several National Public Radio programs. Petrilli helped to create the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and Young Education Professionals.

Carmel Martin

August 01, 2014

Carmel Martin is the executive vice president for policy at American Progress. She manages policy across issue areas and is a key member of CAP’s executive team. Before joining American Progress, Martin was the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education. In this position, she led the department’s policy and budget development activities and served as a senior advisor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Prior to coming to the Department of Education, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. She also previously worked at American Progress as the associate director for domestic policy, and in the Senate as chief counsel and senior policy adviser to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman and special counsel to former Sen. Tom Daschle.

Embrace the Common Core

August 01, 2014

From the Panel

  • For: CARMEL MARTIN

  • Common Core Implementation Best Practices
    Carmel Martin, Center for American Progress, February 28, 2014The Center for American Progress believes that this is the biggest education reform in decades. If done well, it will lead to dramatic improvements in educational opportunities.
  • A Guide to Common Core State Standards
    Center for American Progress, December 4, 2013Fact sheets on states implementing the Common Core.
  • The Common Core Is an Opportunity for Education Equity
    Center for American Progress, May 19, 2014The Common Core helps address inequity in education by ensuring all students are taught to the same high standards and held to the same rigorous expectations.
  • Why More States Are Backing off Common Core
    Carmel Martin and Frederick Hess, News Hour, July 3, 2014Jeffrey Brown talks to Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Carmel Martin of the Center for American Progress about the backlash behind the standards, and the debate that lies ahead.
  • Roadmap for a Successful Transition to the Common Core in States and Districts
    Carmel Martin, Max Marchitello, and Melissa Lazarín, Center for American Progress, June 25, 2014Although no state has implemented the standards perfectly, there are many examples of best practices to help states course correct where needed without compromising the integrity of the Common Core or the benefits it will have for students. Building on these best practices, CAP recommends that states and districts focus their efforts on nine critical steps required to effectively translate standards into high-quality instruction.
  • Common Core State Standards Assessments
    Morgan S. Polikoff, Center for American Progress, April 17, 2014Despite the keenness for the CCSS and forthcoming tests, there are a number of likely challenges to the new standards and assessment systems. The purpose of this report is to outline some of these key challenges and offer suggestions for state and federal policymakers to mitigate them.

  • For: MICHAEL PETRILLI

  • Common Core Standards Initiative
    Michael Petrilli, Common Core Watch, September 3, 2014In NRO today, Rick Hess explores “five half-truths” that he says supporters of the Common Core like to propagate. These spurred five questions of my own.
  • Restarting the Common Core Debate
    Michael J. Petrilli and Neal P. McCluskey, September 1, 2014We — one Core advocate, one opponent — want to assist by laying out the facts on which we think everyone should agree.
  • Common Core Standards Initiative
    Michael Petrilli, C-SPAN, April 24, 2014Petrilli explains the role of the Common Core Standards in overall U.S. education policy and the ongoing debate over the adoption of the standards in states.
  • Common Core: The Great Debate
    Neal McCluskey, Emmet McGroarty, Chester Finn, and Michael Petrilli, Cato Institute, October 3, 2013A debate on the Common Core.
  • 6 Reasons Why Conservatives Should Back Common Core
    Chester Finn Jr. and Michael Petrilli, Detroit Free Press, September 22, 2013Rather than fight Common Core, those on the right should declare victory.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and the Common Core
    Michael Petrilli, Education Next, February 10, 2014If you want to understand why supporters of the Common Core are frustrated—OK, exasperated—by some of our opponents’ seemingly unlimited willingness to engage in dishonest debate, consider this latest episode.
  • The Splintering School Reform Movement
    Michael Petrilli, Education Next, July 15, 2014One of the great misconceptions in education is that the reform movement is monolithic.
  • Common Core: Too Little Change, Not Too Much
    Michael Petrilli, Education Next, May 6, 2014Common Core will not lead to a national curriculum. Local control is alive and well, as it should be. But that’s not to say anything goes in the Common Core era or that changes to teaching and learning aren’t needed.
  • A Point-by-Point Rebuttal of Today’s Anti-Common Core Op-Ed in the Weekly Standard
    Michael Petrilli, Flypaper, May 30, 2013Debunking half-truths and misinformation.
  • Find Out Why This Prominent Conservative Supports the Common Core
    Evan Belanger, AL.com, December 17, 2013So what's conservative about the Common Core? Petrilli says it’s all about accountability.
  • Against: CAROL BURRIS

  • I Was Naïve About Common Core
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, March 4, 2013When I first read about the Common Core State Standards, I cheered.
  • What New Common Core Test Scores Show
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, August 27, 2014The original embrace of the Race to the Top reforms was understandable and forgivable. The continuation of the reforms — despite the mounting evidence of failure — is not.
  • How College Remediation Rates Are Distorted—and Why
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, July 7, 2014No matter how serious a problem it may be, it is wrong to inflate remediation numbers and then use them to justify everything from charter schools to the Common Core.
  • A Disturbing Look at Common Core Tests in New York
    Carol Burris and John Murphy, Washington Post, June 28, 2014Is the Common Core and its tests the path to college readiness? We think not.
  • The Scary Way Common Core Test ‘Cut Scores’ Are Selected
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, April 30, 2014There is no objective science by which we can predict future college readiness using grades 3-8 test scores. You can, at best make assumptions, based on correlations, with score thresholds that are capricious.
  • How Politicians Ignore Parents on School Reform
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, April 1, 2014It has become clear that in New York State, the ‘canary in the coal mine’ of the Common Core reforms, parents are sending a clear message by opting out.
  • Are American Students Grossly Unprepared for College?
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, March 17, 2014Misinformation is part of a continuing strategy to paint a picture of American public schools as failures in order to sell the public the Common Core, charter schools and the corporate reform agenda.
  • ‘Storm of Reform’—Principal Details Damage Done
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, March 11, 2013I have concluded that the standards, as they are being implemented, are potentially harmful to students.
  • The Myth of Common Core Equity
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, March 10, 2014If a goal of public education is to expand the life chances of all students, why are we pursuing punitive policies and practices that push the opportunities of our most vulnerable students even further behind?
  • Why Test-Based School Reform Isn’t Working—By the Numbers
    Carol Burris, Washington Post, February 24, 2014A study by the National Association of College Admission Counseling found that student college success was better predicted by high school grades than by test scores.

  • Against: FREDERICK HESS

  • Common Core's Five Big Half-Truths
    Frederick Hess, National Review, September 3, 2014A handy cheat sheet for putting the Common Core talking points in context.
  • The Race to Nowhere
    Frederick Hess, The Hill, August 5, 2014A monument to paper promises and bureaucratic ineptitude, Race to the Top was more a cautionary tale than a model to be emulated.
  • What Ails the Common Core
    Frederick Hess, National Review, June 13, 2014Most of the problems were caused by proponents’ rejecting the principles of federalism.
  • Common Core Critics Can’t Just Say No
    Frederick Hess and Michael McShane, National Review, April 14, 2014They must develop their own state-level versions of ‘repeal and replace.’
  • Common Core Cant
    Frederick Hess, National Review, March 26, 2014Advocates cite dubious polling to support their claim that the issue is settled.
  • Common Core and the Midterms
    Frederick Hess, National Review, March 20, 2014It won’t be a huge issue in the fall, but it will have repercussions thereafter.
  • Common Core: Teachers’ Unions Think Again
    Frederick Hess, National Review, February 21, 2014As implementation nears, they aren’t liking what they see.
  • Common Core: Slippery Slope
    Frederick Hess and Michael McShane, National Review, December 26, 2013If advocates admitted that it increases Washington’s power, we could have a better, more honest debate.

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