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In the Nation's Interest

Common Core: Setting the Record Straight

By Richard Laine and Chris Minnich

CED has re-posted the following commentary with permission from Education Week and the authors. This article first appeared on June 18, 2013 at edweek.org.

This country was not built by people with low expectations. It was built by great leaders in communities and states who stepped up, sometimes individually and sometimes together, to achieve great things. It was built by responding to the challenges at hand and creating solutions for future generations. Today’s most crucial challenge is enhancing the quality of our public education system and addressing how well—or not—schools are preparing our young people for their futures.

Tomorrow’s workforce will need a better education, both in day-to-day classroom rigor and in acquisition of a college degree or relevant workforce certificate. In fact, Georgetown University researcher Anthony P. Carnevale projects that by the end of this decade, nearly 65 percent of the jobs in the U.S. economy will require some postsecondary education. And few of the jobs that require only a high school diploma will provide a salary sufficient for a young person to gain access to the middle class and the American dream.

Here is what the data tell us: Only 34 percent of 4th graders in reading and 35 percent of 8th graders in math scored proficient or advanced on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation’s report card, in 2011. Internationally, 15-year-olds from the United States ranked 14th in reading and 25th in math (PDF) on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, assessment in 2009. The challenge is clear. Too few American students are being educated to the quality they will need to be successful in work and life.

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