Experts Note Common Core’s Similarity to Standards of Top-performing Countries

There is overwhelming consensus from national and international experts that the Common Core State Standards are higher, in most cases much higher, than existing state standards.

From a formal statement in support of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, issued by the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences:

 “Building on long years of work, the Common Core State Standards are an auspicious advance in mathematics education. They define the mathematical knowledge and skill that students need in order to be ready for college and career…”

 “If properly implemented, these rigorous new standards hold the promise of elevating the mathematical knowledge and skill of every young American to levels competitive with the best in the world, of preparing our college entrants to undertake advanced work in the mathematical sciences, and of readying the next generation for the jobs their world will demand.”

The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences is an umbrella organization of 16 professional societies dedicated to one or more of the mathematical sciences.

From the August 5, 2013, testimony of Dr. Jason Zimba to the Interim Study Committee on Common Core Educational Standards in Indiana:

 “The standards were designed not just to ‘raise the bar’ in mathematics, but to serve as a blueprint for raising achievement in mathematics. The standards build on the best of previous state standards plus a large body of evidence from international comparisons and domestic reports to define a sturdy staircase to college and career readiness.”

 “The standards finally act on longstanding recommendations and research on high performing countries, whose teachers tend to focus on fewer topics in each grade, teach them to greater mastery, and build on them the next year in a coherent sequence of topics. For years, major national reports have called for us to abandon our ‘mile-wide, inch-deep’ approach and embrace focus and coherence in school mathematics.”

Zimba holds a Ph.D. in mathematical physics, is founding partner of the non-profit Student Achievement Partners, and was a member of the writing team for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

From the July 23, 2013, testimony of Michael J. Petrilli to the Arkansas House and Senate Interim Committees on Education:

 “Common Core demands accountability, high standards, and testing – not the low expectations and excuses that many politicians and the establishment have permitted. The Common Core standards are pegged at a high level, which will bring a healthy dose of reality to the education-reform conversation. The truth may be painful but, in the long run, it will serve your children, your educators, and your state economy far better. Conservatives have long argued for holding our students to higher standards, not accepting mediocrity.”

Petrilli is executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education policy organization.

From the May 22, 2013, testimony of Kathleen Porter-Magee to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Committee on Education:

 “The Common Core (standards) are significantly clearer and more rigorous than the Wisconsin English language arts and math standards they replaced. In fact, the gains made by replacing the Wisconsin standards with the Common Core are some of the largest in the nation.”

 “…many critics complain that the Common Core standards promote low-level mathematical skills, or that they prioritize mathematical ‘practices’ or ‘fuzzy math’ over critical content. Again, a close reading of the standards reveals the opposite is true.”

 “Some critics complain that the Common Core (standards) don’t require Algebra in the eighth grade, something that many think is essential to prepare students for advanced math in high school. The reality, however, is that Kindergarten through seventh grade Common Core standards include all of the prerequisite content students will need to have learned to be prepared for Algebra I in the eighth grade. And that means that it’s the states, districts, and/or schools who decide for themselves course and graduation requirements.”

Porter-Magee is a Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow and senior director of the High Quality Standards Program at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

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