However, after these struggles, there are signs that the Common Core are beginning to have the desired impact. Through data, states are not only able to track how far they have to go, but understand in real time the progress being made. Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday stated, “In the last four years in Kentucky, the number of high school graduates who have met enough standards to be deemed college-ready has gone from 34 percent to 54 percent.” There is still an uphill battle ahead, but Kentucky’s education community, including the majority of teachers in the state, believe that implementing the Common Core provides a good path forward.
There’s a great deal to learn from the experiences of those states implementing Common Core, and that information can help us improve policy and scale what works. Using this evidence-based framework, and raising standards, will give students the opportunity to excel after high school graduation.
Yes, the work is difficult, but a challenging implementation does not mean we should take the easier road. The Common Core significantly improved the educational standards previously in place in most states and has the potential to help eliminate some of the disparities in rigor that persist among schools and districts in the same state. We must work together to raise the bar rather than throw in the towel.
Graduating all students from high school — college and career ready — is the current goal. If we give them our full support, schools, teachers and students will rise to the challenge.
Melody Barnes and John Bridgeland were former directors of the White House Domestic Policy Council under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively. Both serve on the advisory board of Results for America, an initiative of America Achieves.