Common Core State Standards: Better than ever

Yesterday marked the release of the final “Common Core” standards&—symbolically occurring in a state capital (Atlanta) rather than Washington, D.C.

I haven’t eyeballed the math standards yet but, based on a preliminary inspection, the proposed standards for “English Language Arts & Literacy” are even better than the very good draft released in March.

They’re clearer, better structured, more coherent–and very ambitious. The “text exemplars” (appendix b) are mostly terrific. The “samples of student writing” (appendix c) are helpfully analyzed and annotated. A lot of commendable “content” is tucked in among a well-crafted assemblage of important skills. And while I remain underwhelmed by the research base (appendix a), in the end standards have more to do with judgment than with science.

The four documents total a couple of inches of paper and I don’t claim to have mastered them. But I’ve seen enough to restate with fair confidence an earlier (and better informed) Fordham judgment, namely that millions of American school-kids would be better served if their states, districts, and schools set out in a serious way to impart these skills and content to their pupils rather than the nebulous and flaccid curricular goals that they’re now using.

We’ll be back with more. The Fordham team is presently engaged in substantive reviews both of the new Common Core State Standards and of current state standards in math and English language arts. We expect to produce those analyses in mid-July.

Until then, you’d be smart to examine the CCSSI standards yourself.

This piece originally appeared on Fordham’s blog Flypaper. Sign up for Flypaper’s RSS feed here.

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