There is a long piece in the Boston Globe Magazine from October 1 by Alexandria Neason about Common Core titled “Are teachers really ready for the Common Core?” Whether Common Core is a good idea or a bad one, I don’t know enough to know, yet. (Although, from what I have read so far, it looks pretty bad, at least in practice). But what caught my eye in this article has nothing to do with Common Core:
More than 40 states, Washington, D.C., and four territories voluntarily adopted the standards, which were created by education experts with assistance from teachers. Massachusetts already had high standards after major bipartisan school reforms in 1993. Nearly half of the state’s fourth-graders are proficient on National Assessment of Educational Progress reading tests, and 55 percent of eighth-graders earn proficient scores on math tests — the highest rates in the country. But because teachers here are still no closer to closing the achievement gap between wealthy and poor students than educators elsewhere, the state adopted the Common Core standards in 2010. [emphasis added]
Think about this. Only half of the most well-educated students in the country, at an aggregate state level, are considered proficient. This speaks to a systemic failure of culture, parenting and teaching far more profound than anything a common set of standards can hope to fix.