The answer to the question, “has Common Core failed?” depends on what you think the goals of the Common Core movement were. In my mind, here’s a short list of what the Common Core movement accomplished:
- More rigorous state standards;
- More commonality across different sets of state standards; and
- A further push on the idea that K-12 schools should prepare students to be “college- and career-ready.”
If, however, you held out hope that state standards themselves would lead to higher student achievement, well, you should read Morgan Polikoff and Tom Loveless’ columns in this Education Next debate on the long-term impacts of the Common Core.
Taking the opposing view, Mike Petrilli argues that Common Core just hasn’t had an effect yet. Ten years into the Common Core era, I’m with Polikoff and Loveless: Improving state standards may have been a worthy policy to pursue, but any downstream effects should be showing up by now. If anything, implementation fidelity is getting worse over time, not better. And, although Petrilli seems to think the opposite, I attribute the Common Core as one of several contributing factors that led to the weaker accountability systems adopted in the wake of the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act.
From my vantage point, the Common Core was a perfectly good idea that got over-extended and over-hyped.
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman