No Common Core Won’t Help Close the Diversity Gap

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Terah L. Harns/Released
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Terah L. Harns/Released

Tamyra Walker, a former teacher and is currently the Director of Recruitment and Retention for #YesWeCode, and Peggy McLeod, he Deputy Vice President for Education and Workforce Development with the National Council of La Raza, wrote an op/ed for NBC News that asked “Can Common Core Help Close the Diversity Gap in Silicon Valley?

Let me answer briefly here – no.

They are holding onto the promise though.

A few years ago, governors and educators from across the U.S. decided to take that challenge on. They worked together to create a consistent set of academic guidelines in math and English language arts to ensure that an 8th grader in San Jose gains the same skills and knowledge as an 8th grader in Detroit.

Now in over 40 states, the Common Core State Standards places an emphasis on understanding math concepts—so kids aren’t just memorizing formulas, but actually growing comfortable using numbers in a way that lays the foundation for a thorough understanding of what numbers mean and how they’re used. Students are also learning how to think critically, problem solve and analyze—all of which are essential for a career in the tech industry…

These changes are particularly important to families of students of color, who want their children to be held to higher standards. Research shows that black and Latino parents are more likely than white parents to say that it’s essential their children earn a postsecondary degree. But we also know that this determination at home doesn’t always equate to success in the classroom. For example, college enrollment among Latino students has tripled since 1993 but less than 1/3 actually make it to graduation…

….Now is the time to throw our weight behind a system that will keep the American Dream alive. By supporting the Common Core, we can support the long-term success of our students and our country. That’s a cause worth fighting for.

They offer no evidence or data that backs their opinion up. They write a faith-based statement for the NBC News website, and they offer a misplaced faith in Common Core to be the remedy for what ails minority students.

In fact data shows the opposite. Kentucky has seen its achievement gap increase. NAEP scores are down across the board. ACT has stated that Common Core does not impact college readiness in some aspects.

Can we let go of the promise of Common Core and accept the reality that it is not the silver bullet that will fix what ails public education. I submit there is nothing that can be done from a top-down mindset that will make a difference.