Ladies and Gentlemen of the Louisiana Legislature:
Before the Common Core, according to Sec. of Ed Arne Duncan, high school success was a "lie" -- it certainly did not mean that students were "college ready."
But Arne Duncan is just another unqualified non-educator benefiting from the billions in public education dollars that private corporations and non-profits are making by "transforming" our system and standardizing our kids. Corporate dollars provide political support and the kinds of powerful high-paying jobs like Duncan's.
Wendy Lecker is a columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity project at the Education Law Center. She provides this report and evidence that the "Crisis of Low Standards" is manufactured.
A new peer-reviewed longitudinal nationwide study confirmed that the most reliable predictor of cumulative college GPA and college graduation is a student's high school GPA.
The study, co-authored by former Bates College Dean of Admissions William Hiss, examined more than 123,000 student records at public and private universities across the country, universities serving predominately minority students and art schools. It compared those who submitted SAT or ACT scores for admission to those who did not.
The authors found students with strong high school records succeeded in college, despite lower standardized test scores. Strong testers with lower GPAs had lower college performance. Non-submitters tended to be women, first-generation college students, PELL grant recipients, students of color and students with learning disabilities. The authors found a broad geographic appeal to non-submissions.
All of the students in this study attended school prior to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Many began school well before the No Child Left Behind Act. They graduated from a variety of schools across the country, learned different curricula in states with different standards. Their GPAs did not depend on standardized tests. Yet consistently, their high school GPAs were reliable predictors of college success. If these students succeeded in American high schools, no matter what the curricula, standards or assessments, they succeeded in American colleges, public or private, large or small.
This fact undermines the claims that American students need national standards, standardized curricula and nationally standardized tests in order to be "college and career ready." The high school teachers of students in this study accurately assessed their achievement, and taught them what they needed to know to do well in college -- without common standards, scripted lessons or a nationalized test. In fact, the data show that the two national standardized tests, the SAT and ACT, were poor predictors of college success.
Earlier research reached the same conclusion. A 2006 study of 80,000 University of Californiastudents found that high school GPA was consistently the best predictor of cumulative GPA in all subjects and of graduation; as did a 2009 study of 150,000 public university students across the country.
Yet our national and state leaders ignored this data and imposed the Common Core. Officials are spending billions of taxpayer dollars to overhaul state standards, homogenize curricula, "retrain" teachers, and purchase and administer what is essentially a nationally standardized test.
Moreover, these new national standards disregard the wisdom of our high school teachers. For example, in 2010, the Connecticut State Department of Education compared existing Connecticut academic standards, created by Connecticut educators, to the Common Core State Standards, created by two outside private organizations. SDE declared that 92 percent of Connecticut's math standards overlapped with the Common Core math standards, mostly in high school. High-school math teachers across Connecticut told me that the chief difference was that the Common Core re-injected extraneous, difficult concepts that districts had previously jettisoned because they detracted from students' solid understanding of core concepts.
Thus, it appears that the "new" 8 percent represented by Common Core standards is either developmentally inappropriate, in the younger grades, or an unnecessary distraction, in high school years.
The high school GPA studies prove that teachers and schools already knew what to teach their students to succeed in college. And, judging from the example above, teachers know what works better than the drafters of the Common Core do.
To the extent many children are not succeeding, the absence of national standards is not the cause. One has to wonder, then, why our leaders are spending billions to "fix" the wrong problem, and why they ignored our teachers, who clearly know how to educate our children.
Who will have egg in his/her face when this national hoax comes unraveled. Parents are now informed and prepared to fight to preserve their children's educational opportunities. Which side will you be on this legislative session - your constituency's?