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EDITORIAL: Common Core: An old solution to an old problem

We’ll be examining a subject that has very real-world implications for this and future generations in a two-part story that starts this week: the new Common Core Learning Standards.

On page 1 (Cracking the Common Core), we bring you now a breakdown of exactly what the Common Core is, why it was adopted by the Board of Regents in 2011 and how educators and administrators are reacting on the macro level. To come, look for a comprehensive report on what the effects might be in the classroom itself: test anxiety, scheduling and what it means for students’ futures.

The state Education Department notes correctly that New York is one of the last states to adopt the Common Core Standards. No one can reasonably argue New York’s students should ever be behind learners in any other state in the union. Also at issue is the performance exhibited by graduating high schoolers. The state Education Department figures just 74 percent of incoming high school freshman will graduate four years later. And of those who do, an increasing number must take remedial coursework upon entering college because their skills are not up to snuff.

This is a serious issue, especially here in the Capital District, where much has been said about the transformative power of the high-tech industry. If families want their children to have a chance to stay in the area and raise families of their own, they’re going to need a good education. Otherwise, those shiny new jobs will be given to transplants, plain and simple.

So the Common Core Standards, the Education Department would argue, are a way to jump-start education in New York by bringing everyone onto the same page, instituting rigorous standards in the classroom and painting a true picture of the state of education in our schools, one to which teachers and administrators can be held accountable.

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