Ain’t No Party Like a Common Core Party But a Common Core Party May Stop

K-12 education is planning a Common Party (Theme: College- and Career-Ready Standards.) The party’s been planned for years. States, districts, schools, teachers, and parents have spent countless hours and billions of dollars on the planning committee. The RSVP’s are mostly in (although Indiana, Louisiana, and others are getting cold feet). There’s even a punchbowl in the corner.

But what if the guest of honor, colleges and universities, don’t come? Colleges have said they’re interested—who doesn’t like parties or high standards in the abstract?—but they won’t make any promises. Without their admissions or remediation policies, the party won’t be the same.

As Lindsey Tepe writes in a fantastic report from New America, we’re at a real risk of exactly this scenario playing out. Although higher education leaders participated in the drafting of the Common Core State Standards and have expressed support for them generally, they have so far stopped short of adopting policies to ensure that a student deemed “proficient” at the K-12 level qualifies for college-level coursework. The awkward truth is that colleges determine what “college-ready” means. Read Tepe’s report for the implications.

–Chad Aldeman

2 Replies to “Ain’t No Party Like a Common Core Party But a Common Core Party May Stop”

  1. One of the big surprises for me when the Common Core rolled out was comments from publishers of the SAT and the ACT that their tests would be aligned to Common Core.

    “Hold on a minute,” I thought. “Shouldn’t this be reversed? Shouldn’t Common Core be aligning to existing college entrance tests that have a track record of at least some usefulness in determining true college readiness from the viewpoint of college admissions offices? Is the K to 12 tail trying to wag the dog?”

    I suspect if college admissions officers and professors from mainline departments of mathematics, English, and other subjects impacted by Common Core’s reading program were surveyed, the results would show many outside of the education school know little about Common Core.

    I also suspect many college educators would not be happy to hear that a largely K to 12 process – assisted by a small number of college professors who lacked overall controlling authority over the final product – was trying to dictate admissions quality for their university.

    There indeed could be trouble coming. It’s just a matter of how long it takes for college staff members to wake up and react to someone forcing dubious admissions standards down their own colleges’ throats.

  2. Hmm. Colleges may get involved in conversations about “college ready,” but at present the majority of colleges admit large numbers of students whom they don’t consider to be college ready, knowing that many will fail or drop out. Not sure that their opinions should be given that much weight.

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