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date: 16 January 2018

Common Core Standards (U.S.)

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are part of a third wave of school reform in the United States. With accompanying tests, these standards combine calls for increased academic rigor, beginning in the 1980s, with more recent efforts to hold schools, teachers, and students accountable for learning outcomes in publically funded schools. Origins of CCSS can be traced to the 1996 Educational Summit where the National Governors Association (NGA), philanthropic foundations, and business leaders founded Achieve to broker rigorous state standards. In 2009 Achieve became the project manager for the construction of CCSS. In 2010 implementation began with incentives from the Obama administration and funding from the Gates Foundation.

CCSS advocates choose among a variety of rationales: faltering American economic competitiveness, wide variability among state standards and educational outcomes, highly mobile student populations, and a growing income achievement gap. Critics cite federal intrusion in states’ rights, a lack of an evidentiary base, an autocratic process of CCSS production, and a misframing of problems facing public schools. With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), federal advocacy of CCSS ended officially.