Common Core State Standards

Chester E. Finn Jr. has three very bright granddaughters. He thinks they "have considerable academic potential and are not always being challenged by their schools." Finn is not just a proud grandpa; he's a long-established expert on education policy with the Fordham Institute and Hoover Institution.

So it's not surprising that his grandkids got him wondering about — and researching — a big question: How well is the U.S. educating its top performers?

Garfield Teacher Jesse Hagopian says rising standards + inadequate education funding means minorities lose. Gerald Hankerson of the Seattle King County NAACP waits to speak.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

For the 11th-grade math test in Washington state, there's a version in Spanish. There's also a glossary to translate words into Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, Punjabi.

Notice anything missing? 

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about the Common Core.

Ditching The Common Core Brings A Big Test For Indiana

Mar 12, 2015

Every eldest child knows all too well: Going first can be tough.

There's no one to help you pick the good teachers at school or give you advice on how to tell Mom and Dad about that fender bender.

Right now, Indiana is the firstborn, feeling its way through some thorny — and consequential — education decisions with little precedent to lean on.

It's shaping up to be an interesting year for the Common Core, barely five years after 45 governors embraced it. A few states have already repealed the new math and reading standards. Others are pushing ahead with new tests, curriculum and teaching methods aligned to the Core.

And in some states, its future hangs in the balance. North Carolina is one of them.

It was one of the first states that quietly adopted the Common Core, and it moved quickly to put the standards in place.

Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus'

Nov 11, 2014

Part 1 in a four-part series on reading in the Common Core era.

The Common Core State Standards are changing what many kids read in school. They're standards, sure — not curriculum. Teachers and districts still have great latitude when it comes to the "how" of reading instruction, but...

The Core standards explicitly require students to read "complex" material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren't doing that before the Core. What were they doing?

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

A coalition of teachers and their supporters marched through downtown Seattle Thursday afternoon to the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The local branch of a national organization that calls itself the Badass Teachers Association was protesting the education reform efforts the Gates Foundation has generously funded, from charter schools to the new Common Core State Standards.

Flickr Photo/John Girton (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton about how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded and built political support for Common Core academic standards in more than 40 states.

The Common Core Curriculum Void

Jun 3, 2014

Right now, America's schools are in a sprint. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. That means new learning benchmarks for the vast majority of the nation's young students — millions of kids from kindergarten through high school. And, for many of them, the Core Standards will feel tougher than what they're used to. Because they are tougher.

Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds sits down with KUOW's education reporter Ann Dornfeld to talk about the new changes to learning standards in Washington state public schools.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

As school districts across Washington integrate the new Common Core State Standards in reading and math into their curricula, some kindergarten teachers say the standards are squeezing out other important lessons that young children need to succeed in school – and life.

What are the two most feared — most reviled — words in the English language?

"Tax day," maybe? Or "traffic jam"?

"Pink slip" still connotes an awful brand of helplessness, even though, I assume, most Americans who get pink-slipped these days never see a pink slip.

No, my vote is for "standardized test."

That's right. You felt it, didn't you? Shivers up the spine. The stab of a No. 2 pencil. And oh! Those monstrous, monotonous bubbles. They may as well be a legion of eyes staring back at your inadequacy.

Supporters of the new Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states say the standards hold American students to much higher expectations, and move curriculum away from a bubble-test culture that encourages test preparation over deeper learning.

A bill introduced in the state Legislature this week calls for a study into how much student data is being released without families’ knowledge or consent.

Candidate Websites

One of the hottest races on Seattle’s fall ballot isn't for mayor or city council, but a seat on the Seattle School Board.