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The State of State Standards Post-Common Core

Eight years ago, we compared states’ English language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards to what were then the newly-minted Common Core State Standards. That report found that the Common Core was clearer and more rigorous than the ELA standards in thirty-seven states and stronger than the math standards in thirty-nine states.

While many states have, to varying degrees, revised their standards since 2010, the questions that should concern policymakers and the public haven’t changed: Are states’ ELA and math standards of sufficient quality and rigor to drive effective instruction? And if not, how might they be improved?

David Griffith, Victoria McDougald, Solomon Friedberg, Diane Barone, Juliana Belding, Andrew Chen, Linda Dixon 8.22.2018
NationalReport
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ESEA Briefing Book

Political leaders hope to act soon to renew and fix the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind). In this important paper, Thomas B. Fordham Institute President Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli identify 10 big issues that must be resolved in order to get a bill across the finish line, and explore the major options under consideration for each one. Should states be required to adopt academic standards tied to college and career readiness? Should the new law provide greater flexibility to states and districts? These are just a few of the areas discussed. Finn and Petrilli also present their own bold yet "reform realist" solutions for ESEA. Read on to learn more.

Michael J. Petrilli, Chester E. Finn, Jr. 4.19.2011
NationalReport
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American Achievement in International Perspective

The latest results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) garnered all the usual headlines about America's lackluster performance and the rise of competitor nations. And to be sure, the findings that America's 15-year-olds perform in the middle of the pack in both reading and math are disconcerting for a nation that considers itself an international leader, priding itself on its home-grown innovation, intellect, and opportunity. But that's not the entire story. Read on to learn more.

Michael J. Petrilli, Janie Scull 3.15.2011
NationalReport
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The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011

Reviewers evaluated state standards for U.S. history in grades K-12. What they found is discouraging: Twenty-eight states—a majority—deserve D or F grades for their academic standards in this key subject. The average grade across all states is a dismal D. Among the few bright spots, South Carolina earns a straight A for its standards and six other jurisdictions—Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia—garner A-minuses. (The National Assessment's "framework" for U.S. history also fares well.) Read on to learn how your state scored.

Jeremy A. Stern, Sheldon M. Stern 2.16.2011
NationalReport
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Stretching the School Dollar

This policy brief lists fifteen concrete ways that states can "stretch the school dollar" in these difficult financial times. It is written by Marguerite Roza, senior data and economics advisor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president at the Fordham Institute.

Michael J. Petrilli, Marguerite Roza, Ph.D. 1.6.2011
NationalReport
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Are Bad Schools Immortal?

This study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute finds that low-performing public schools—both charter and traditional district schools—are stubbornly resistant to significant change. After identifying more than 2,000 low-performing charter and district schools across ten states, analyst David Stuit tracked them from 2003-04 through 2008-09 to determine how many were turned around, shut down, or remained low-performing. Results were generally dismal. Seventy-two percent of the original low-performing charters remained in operation—and remained low-performing-five years later. So did 80 percent of district schools. Read on to learn more.

David A. Stuit 12.14.2010
NationalReport
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2009-10 Ohio Report Card Analysis

Each year the Thomas B. Fordham Institute conducts an analysis of urban school performance in Ohio. We found that in 2009-10, 26 percent of public school students (district and charter) in Ohio's Big 8 urban communities attended a school rated A or B by the state, 28 percent attend a C-rated school, and 47 percent attended a school rated D or F.

Emmy L. Partin, Terry Ryan, Bianca Speranza 8.27.2010
NationalReport
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The State of State Standards—and the Common Core—in 2010

This study weighed existing state education standards against the Common Core education standards. The findings? The Common Core standards were clearer and more rigorous than English language arts standards in 37 states and math standards in 39 states.

Sheila Byrd Carmichael, W. Stephen Wilson, Kathleen Porter-Magee, Gabrielle Martino 7.21.2010
NationalReport
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Common Education Standards: Tackling the Long-Term Questions

How should the "common core" state standards be governed? Who will "own" these standards (and related assessments) 20 years from now? To stir smart thinking about important aspects of these issues, the Fordham Institute invited knowledgeable experts to write background papers.

6.23.2010
NationalReport
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Review of the Draft K-12 Common Core Standards

The Fordham Institute's expert reviewers have analyzed the draft Common Core K-12 education standards (made public on March 10) according to rigorous criteria. Their analyses lead to a grade of A- for the draft mathematics standards and B for those in English language arts. Read on to find out more.

Sheila Byrd Carmichael, Kathleen Porter-Magee, W. Stephen Wilson, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Gabrielle Martino, Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. 3.23.2010
NationalReport
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Tracking and Detracking: High Achievers in Massachusetts Middle Schools

Brookings scholar Tom Loveless examines tracking and detracking in Massachusetts middle schools, focusing on changes that have occurred and the implications for high-achieving students. Among the findings: detracked schools have fewer advanced students in math than tracked schools and detracking is more popular in schools serving disadvantaged populations.

Tom Loveless 12.10.2009
NationalReport