Take this evidence for whatever it’s worth: recently, at a crawfish boil, I was discussing Common Core with the school leader of one of the highest performing charter schools in New Orleans.
We were standing over a table that looked quite like the picture above.
I asked him two questions: (1) Has Common Core increased the quality of your instruction? (2) If so, would these increases have happened without Common Core?
Common Core has dramatically increased the rigor of the instruction; according to him, their students are now tackling material that, just a few years ago, few adults in the building would have thought possible.
He was clear that this shift in instruction probably would not have occurred without Common Core; that state assessments, especially in high-accountability systems, shape expectations.
Nearly all high-peforming CMO or charter leader who I have talked to respond in a somewhat similar fashion.
When it comes to standards and assessments, I’m a pragmatist.
If the instructional leaders I trust most say Common Core is improving the rigor of their instruction, then I will continue to support Common Core.