OTHER OPINION: Common Core ensures kids on level playing field

By The Nashville Tennessean

There is really just one main question for the throngs of upset parents who have spoken out against the Common Core State Standards at public meetings over the past week:
Where have they been until now?
Common Core has been in the works since 2008, as a set of expectations for what each student should know in each grade through 12. Tennessee political, business and educational leaders had loudly called for more rigorous education standards, because the measurements for progress in Tennessee’s schools gave a false impression of success. In 2007, state tests showed students at nearly 90 percent proficiency in reading and math, but the authoritative National Assessment of Education Progress showed less than a third of Tennessee students as proficient.
Were the upset parents listening?
In 2010, the Common Core State Standards were adopted as the guide to bring Tennessee’s kids to a level where they can compete with their peers nationally and eventually, internationally. Grades K-2 statewide have been using Common Core since 2011.
Access to information on the standards has been readily available throughout the process, so it’s understandable if state and local education officials were taken aback by this outburst of opposition, as districts statewide are on course to implement math and reading standards by 2014-15 in grades 3-8.
The process was begun in a group of 12 states that volunteered to lead the way. Among them was Tennessee.
As of today, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards.
The fact is that Common Core does not dictate curriculums or teaching methods. It provides benchmarks for what a third-grader, an eighth-grader and every other grade should know in order to succeed. And it is intended to help all students, not just a privileged few. Because that is the only way toward prosperity for the children of today, and their children in turn.