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Student achievement has decreased in Common Core era

BY LEN CABRERA / JUNE 13, 2019

A recent study by the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning (C-SAIL) found that student achievement has decreased since Common Core went into effect. Surprisingly, the research was conducted by “several well-known Common Core advocates,” using $10 million of federal funding. 

Their report noted that the decreased performance was not due to institutional opposition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS): 82% of math teachers and 72% of English teachers surveyed by C-SAIL changed over half their classroom instructional materials to bring them into compliance with Common Core, and most of the teachers reported that they thought Common Core benefited their students. 

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As Joy Pullmann from The Federalist reports, this was not the first report talking about bad student performance under Common Core:

  • In 2009, The Pioneer Institute warned that Common Core standards weakened the quality of education in Massachusetts’ classrooms. 
  • In 2012, The Brookings Institute said Common Core would have “little to no effect on student achievement.”
  • In 2014/15, The Brookings Institute found no statistically significant improvements in eighth grade math scores or in fourth grade reading scores, based on the level of adoption of Common Core in various states (Florida was ranked as “Most Like CCSS.”)
  • In 2015, former senior policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Education Ze’ev Wurman warned of “a first ever significant decline of 2-3 points−about a quarter of a grade-level worth−in mathematics at both grades 4 and 8, and in grade 4 reading” in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores. He also noted that schools teaching “Algebra in grade 8 dropped from 33 percent to 29 percent, the first drop in ten years.”
  • In 2017, Joy Pullmann reported U.S. fourth graders dropped from 5th to 13th of 58 countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.

According to the Brookings Institute’s Brown Center Report on American Education (p22), “The No Child Left Behind Act established a national goal of closing achievement gaps between groups based on race, ethnicity, economic status, and disability.” That was signed into law over 17 years ago. What do we have to show for all the “professional” educators at the U.S. Department of Education giving us NCLB and CCSS? According to Joy Pullmann: ACT math achievement is at a 20-year low, readiness for college-level English is “at its lowest level since ACT’s creators began measuring” in 2002, and preparedness for college-level math is “at its lowest point since 2004.”

While Governor Ron DeSantis eliminated Common Core in Florida on January 31 this year, the state’s education standards have not been changed while the bureaucracy works on a replacement, a process that is scheduled to run through April 2020. The new system promises to “return to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.” According to a “stakeholder” letter on May 31, 2019, the Florida Department of Education has incorporated over 15,000 comments to develop the first draft of grade 9-12 English and math standards. They can been viewed (and commented upon) at http://www.floridastandardsreview.org/ (registration and login required).

How do we know the new standards will be any better? In 2013, Bill Gates, who was a big proponent of Common Core, said, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” These “experts” are gambling with our children’s futures (and some are enriching themselves with government contracts while doing it). The same types of bureaucrats who gave us NCLB and CCSS will be working on the replacement.

The only solution is for parents to take a more active role in their kids’ education. Don’t outsource your responsibility to the school system.

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