SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher spearheaded the launch of a coalition of 200 college presidents and state higher education leaders aimed at supporting and implementing Common Core standards.
The Higher Ed for Higher Standards coalition wants the Common Core education standards fully implemented in the states that have adopted them. The leaders say the K-12 standards are a significant improvement over other educational standards. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher called Common Core a blueprint for sealing leaks in the education pipeline to ensure students are ready for college work. “We have too many universities across the country who are essentially teaching twice. They are re-teaching what students were supposed to, or expected to, learn in middle school and high school. And as a consequence, our energy is not adequately directed toward college completion when we’re so busy catching people up.”
Zimpher says the coalition wants to partner with K-12 educators to implement the standards and assure a seamless passage to college and the workforce. Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan joined Chancellor Zimpher on a conference call announcing the initiative. He says current tests do not adequately meet new, higher standards as do the Common Core assessments. “There are a lot of myths out there. There’s a lot of bad information frankly about what Common Core is and where it came from and how it’s gonna be applied. This is about college-ready standards. It’s not about how you teach. It’s not about the curriculum. It’s about what students need to do and need to know if they’re going to be successful in college. The point of the coalition is to make it as clear as we possibly can to policy makers about what this is and how critical it is if our post-secondary institutions are going to be a success.”
SUNY Plattsburgh Professor of Education Doug Selwyn is a member of the North Country Alliance for Public Education, a group critical of the Common Core standards. He says Common Core supporters tend not to be working in classrooms, and says the standards weren’t crafted by those actually teaching. “Raising standards sounds good. Who’s against higher standards? But if you require that schools do more and more at the same time that they have fewer and fewer resources, at the same time that there are fewer and fewer good paying jobs out there, you’re making political statements but you’re not working to make change. I guess my strongest feeling is that people who are farthest from classrooms and from schools seem to be most in favor of Common Core. And they’re in favor of it because it sounds like you’re doing something good for education.”
The Common Core standards were adopted on a state-by-state basis, but governors in Indiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma have signed legislation to repeal them.