In recent months, we have been hearing a great deal about how individual states’ academic standards measure up to the Common Core. Both Texas and Virginia have proudly proclaimed that their state standards are far superior to the proposed shared standards, and as a result they have refused to pursue Race to the Top and to sign onto Common Core Standards. When California agreed to Common Core in principle last year, it did so only after proclaiming that the Golden State had the best standards in the union, and Common Core could cut out the middle man and just adopt California standards. And this week in Massachusetts, many are trying to delay the adoption of Common Core, believing that the Bay State’s standards are better than where NGA and CCSSO landed earlier this year.
Well now the Fordham Institute has weighed in, offering up a state-by-state analysis of how current state standards measure up to the Common Core. And what do they say?
* Overall, the math Common Core is stronger than the ELA Common Core. With math, 39 states’ standards are inferior. With reading, 37 states’ standards are inferior (but three are superior).
* Texas scores an A- compared to the reading Common Core, but only a C on math.
* Virginia scores a B+ on math and a C on ELA
* Massachusetts posts an A- on math and a B+ on ELA
Some of the more “interesting” findings:
* Washington, DC scores an A for both its current ELA and math standards. Who knew that Michelle Rhee and company could claim they have the best standards in the nation, better than Massachusetts or the rest?
* Indiana and California also scored As in both categories. So according to Fordham, Cali, DC, and Indiana are the tops. How many would get that right on Jeopardy?
* And some of the laggards? Montana earned dual Fs. Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin earned and F and a D each. Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Rhode Island come in with Ds. See any surprises in those lists?
How about our two Race to the Top Phase I winners? Tennessee picked up an A- on ELA and a C on math. Delaware an F on ELA and an B on math.
What does all of this tell us? We still have a lot of work to do. I don’t think that anyone truly believes that the strongest academic standards in the nation belong to Washington, DC. Nor do we see the worst standards coming from states in New England or the Northeast.
Fordham is offering up a great deal of food for thought here. If anything, it shows why we need that common yardstick by which to measure student performance for all. But I suspect this is just the first in a long list of analyses, points, crosspoints, and other discussions of standards, common standards, and what is to come.