By Stuart A. Singer, author of The Algebra Miracle
The critics of the Common Core are wrong. While the CCSS may be far from perfect, I am reminded of a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.
“If you strive for perfection you will never reach that goal but you may pass excellence along the way”.
If the emphasis on the real world outcomes found in the Common Core could be combined with changes in education to better meet the demands of employment in the 21st Century, the needs of all students could be addressed. These changes would include placing a greater emphasis for providing courses that will directly pertain to actual job descriptions. Preparing everyone for college sounds wonderful but when the numbers clearly indicate that two of every three students will never receive a degree, it suddenly seems less effective. Making the situation direr is the reality that, of those not earning a degree, two in five will not graduate from high school.
Turning academic success in a better direction will require an adjustment in attitude. The goal of earning a four-year college degree must remain an excellent outcome but it cannot be the only positive one. Currently pushing individuals to learn a real-world skill such as plumbing, construction, computer hardware and retail marketing only occurs after attaining a college degree has proven impossible. Instead these options need to be available and accepted early in high school.
Placing increased value in higher standards will potentially result in numerous positive outcomes. It will produce more individuals with viable skills upon graduation. It will also lead these students to refine those talents in far less expensive two-year community colleges. And perhaps it may also encourage many potential dropouts to remain in school.