Okla. Gov. Fallin: We Can Do Better Than Common Core

By Catherine Gewertz — July 08, 2014 1 min read
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The common-core-dropout spin continues. In a piece for the Tulsa World, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin uses a key argument of common-standards advocates to justify dumping those academic expectations.

Fallin argues that the internationally competitive, technology-driven economy demands higher levels of skill of today’s young people, and requires some form of postsecondary education. But too many students aren’t finishing high school, let alone getting postsecondary degrees. Large swaths of those who do go on to higher education are finding themselves unprepared and ending up in remedial classes, which in turn fuels the churn of more years in school, more student debt, and lower completion rates, she writes.

All of this has been at the heart of the argument for the common core. But Fallin, who once supported those standards, uses it to back her recent decision to drop them. Oklahoma, she writes, can break the “cycle of underachievement” and increase performance in its K-12 schools on its own.

One of the ways the state is doing that, she wrote, is by “opting out of common core with the intention of creating stronger, more rigorous academic standards.” (The state’s other key education improvement strategies that Fallin listed, in case you were wondering, were boosting funding for education, focusing on 3rd grade literacy, making it easier to “terminate the contracts of underperforming teachers, designing a school-rating system, and partnering more closely with business and higher education.)

Whether Oklahoma really does create “stronger, more rigorous academic standards” remains to be seen, of course. We’ve already seen two states make a big to-do about officially dumping the common core only to kinda-sorta keep it.

Indiana, you might recall, created a small tornado of activity around writing new standards, and ended up with a set that drew heavily on the common core. South Carolina officials, who threw the common core overboard with much ballyhoo, have confessed that they don’t have the time to write new standards that are really all that different.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.