Common Core is based on one single paper written in 2010, which artificially inflated a crises that our high school graduates were not sufficiently prepared for college…  Back then I believed it, as do most people who like me never  thought to question a supposedly intellectual study we thought was thoroughly based on data.

Turns out we were wrong to trust it.  If you bear with me, I hope to use hard data we now have from 2009, to cast a giant shadow of doubt on this paper that in 2010, led all of America down the path to corporatizing education to the detriment of students, parents, and teachers.  Hopefully this data in turn, will lead to the detriment of all those politicians who took us there, and jumped on board of Common Core without ever asking if  the data was real…..

First from the paper itself…. This assertion….  then a follow up with statistics on post-secondary education….

“Figure 1 shows the extent of the college readiness problem by portraying the gap between eligibility for college and readiness to do college-level work. Students in public colleges and universities attend one of three types of postsecondary institutions: highly selective four-year institutions, somewhat selective four-year institutions, and nonselective or open-access two-year colleges.The readiness gap is nominal in the most selective universities because their admissions criteria screen out most students who are under-prepared.The gap is huge, however, in the other two sectors of higher education, which serve between 80 percent and 90 percent of undergraduates in public institutions.”

Figure 1 Achieve

We can begin to see the fallacy of the argument.  We are not discussing students going into Harvard who are ill prepared. Nor Ohio State. Nor  any of the higher education facilities we have come to think of under the designation of “college”…  What this study attempts to argue, is that those  who previously would never have thought of going on past high school graduation, are now doing so, and are finding that they didn’t pay attention in high school as well as they should have….. probably because back then, they never expected to go to college…

As this study shows, it is those on the bottom who are the ones not prepared…  In other words, our entire educational system was putt-putt-putting along fine.  We are just attempting to increase what is taught among those of  the bottom academic margins….

Although such a cause may be deemed progressive and creating an overall improvement to society, … why, then, are we changing the entire educational process across this nation from the top down, in trying to bring the bottom level up, serving only to water down the top?

The answer is $$$. Someone is making a boatload of money off this claim.  Whereas instead of recognizing there is nothing wrong with the status quo,  that if an underprivileged or “regular joe” wants to go to college and better his lot in life, he can do so (and while there take and pass the redial courses he needs), … the sales pitch was made and gobbled up that we needed a half a billion Federal dollars invested into two companies in order to change the entire curriculum of America’s schools, including those of students at the top who seem to have no problem when THEY go into post secondary education….

On to the data.  I apologize for it being heavy in numbers, but as a firm believer in open source arguments, I certainly wouldn’t think of having it any other way.

The source for the statistics is the NCES or National Center of Educational Statistics or …. From this source we see that each year across America, we graduate 3,011,040. Roughly 3 million every year…

Now since today’s post secondary educational system is fragmented beyond recognition, with statistics inclusive of doctorates, masters, bachelors, associates, and trade schools… and then we have to process how many have years off, take partial loads, are on the 5 year plan, the 6 year plan, etc… in order just to get a conservative estimate I picked the number of graduations or degrees handed out, which are markable. If 3 million exit the high schools each year then an estimate of the number graduating would give us at least a minimal floor on how well this data stacks up…

From the NCES we see that roughly 21 million were enrolled 2009-2010. That includes everyone… Of that, 13 million were enrolled in 4 year institutions, 7.5 million were in 2 year institutions, and under half a million in less than two year institutions.

Further down the chart we find the number of those receiving degrees.  This is what we have to match up to the flood of students leaving high school, or 3 million each year….

We see 937,000 of what used to be considered Junk degrees…  Very necessary for technical skills, such as ultrasound technology, so I certainly don’t want to make light of them, but they run less than two years of education and don’t really study typical college course such as calculus or the religous beliefs of American Samoans.  Then there are 850,000 associates degrees,  with 250,000 given out by 4 years colleges, and 600,000 given out by 2 year accredited community colleges.

Bachelor degrees make up 1,650,000….  (Masters an additional 700,000 and Doctor’s degrees at 150,000, neither included in the below undergraduate total).

So we feed 3 million into the post-secondary pipeline, and give undergraduate degrees out to 3.4 million.

This convolution is explained by the growth of students applying to college.  Enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, enrollment increased 37 percent, from 15.3 million to 21.0 million. Much of the growth between 2000 and 2010 was in full-time enrollment; the number of full-time students rose 45 percent, while the number of part-time students rose 26 percent.. So in 2009-10, one was conferring 4-year degrees upon someone who entered 2005, and 3 year 2-years degrees upon someone who entered in 2006. upon 2-years completing on time who entered in 2007, and those who took one year trade school courses from 2008… Likewise if the amount going into post secondary education was collapsing, the reverse, less graduating than entering would be true…..

These totals do not include those graduating who did either armed forces,or went straight into the workforce, or remained unemployed… The percentage of 18-24 year olds going to college rose from 35% up to 41%.  Which means that 60%  or 1.8 million of each graduating wave of 3 million, does not go to college at all…

Additionally some relieved of their jobs in 2009, went back to school for various degrees helping in part to bump up the one year statistics, and probably later will be a bigger force in pumping up  the future 2 years and 4 years statistics.

So putting the charts together we  would estimate that overall, out of a wave of high school graduates 40% of the 3 million or 1.2 million go onward into post secondary education.  Of this 1.2 million the assumption made by the Common Core advocate group was that 60% of those 1.2 million or  720, 000 went to schools only accepting a high school diploma in order to allow one entrance.  Of those, 75%  of that 720,000 needed remedial math or English.  That comes to  540,000…

In the next echelon of 30% of attending less selective four year institutions, (read state colleges mandated to allow all eligible state students),  we see from the report that they estimated 50% of those were not at the level to jump into the academic fray.  That total number  180,000.  Finally in the most selective colleges taking 10% of those 1.2 million of each class going into school after graduation, only 10% or 12,000 are deemed not up to standards….  When added up,  12,000 + 180,000 + 540,000  we see that a total of 732,000 students may need some remedial math or English which are given without receiving college credit…..

The percentage of those in post secondary education based on these estimates, requiring remedial instruction (732,000 out of 1.2 million) is 61%….  

But the percentage out of all high school graduates (3 million) is 24.4%….  We essentially are creating a curriculum to benefit only 24.4% of our students.  (For this we are spending most of a child’s time in kindergarten teaching how to properly fill bubbles on a standardized test….)

Now, there is another side to this equation….

Here are the schools ranked by largest enrollment by the current Wikipedia

1 University of Phoenix For-Profit 4-year Online Campus (Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona) 307,871
2 Pennsylvania State University Public 4-year Multiple Campuses (Headquartered in University Park, Pennsylvania) 96,562
3 Ashford University For-Profit 4-year Multiple Campuses (Headquarters in Clinton, Iowa) 74,596
4 Arizona State University Public 4-year Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Arizona 72,254
5 University of Minnesota Public 4-year Multiple Campuses (Headquarters in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota) 68,418
6 Liberty University Private 4-year Lynchburg, VA 64,096
7 Miami Dade College Public 2-year Miami, Florida 63,736
8 Lone Star College System Public 2-year The Woodlands, Texas 63,029
9 Houston Community College Public 2-year Houston, Texas 63,015
10 University of Central Florida Public 4-year Orlando, Florida 58,465

11 Ohio State University Public 4-year Columbus, Ohio 56,867
12 Kaplan University For-Profit 4-year Multiple Campuses (Headquarters in Davenport, Iowa) 56,606
13 University of Texas at Austin Public 4-year Austin, TX 51,112
14 American Public University System For-Profit 4-year Online (Headquarters Charles Town, WV) 50,838
15 University of Texas A&M Public 4-year College Station, TX 50,230
16 Tarrant County College District Public 2-year Fort Worth, Texas 50,062
17 Northern Virginia Community College Public 2-year Annandale, Virginia 50,044
18 University of Florida Public 4-year Gainesville, Florida 49,589
19 Walden University For-Profit 4-year Online Campus (Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN) 48,982
20 Michigan State University Public 4-year East Lansing, Michigan 47,825

Just add up the total enrollment of the “for profit” universities listed above….. That total is 482,287.   Next take the 2 year community college enrollments.  289,886…

First, without being condescending, we should be grateful that this many people now are able to get further schooling who could not get it before…  Adding these two enrollments together, one comes with 772,173.  These figures consist of  total enrollments and should not be confused with those partial enrollments entering on a year by year basis.

It should also be noted; that whereas the requirements may be easier to get into a for-profit or a community college, the course material is usually taught on par with those of long term colleges and universities.  Therefore though easier to get in, they are not that easy to pass and get out anymore than a state university or college would be…

So it would stand to appear reasonable that those entering these colleges would have a lower echelon of preparedness than would those doing well in high school, and common sense would preclude they would need some remedial work to compete on the level of those who ranked in the tops of their high school classes.

Is that reason enough to dismantle public education as we know it, throw the old textbooks out of the window, and re do everything just for this percentage of students?

Common Core will not teach great works of literature.  Common Core stops math development at Algebra II. (no geometry, no trig, no pre-calc, no calc. )  Is this good for those 40% who do not need remedial work when they go forward?  Are we hurting them by not educating them enough, when their brains are perfect for retaining it?  By limiting our top performers, are we truly dumbing down America?

Now I was playing you along here to see if you caught the catch.  For this to be true, those 10,30, 60 percents and those 75, 50, and 10% all have to be true assessments… These were the premise made by the writers of Common Core….

In their report, there is this line….

Firm data on the proportions of entering college students who need remediation in English
and/or math are not available, but the proportions shown in Figure 1 reflect national estimates. 1

I left the citation number… Clicking forward to the citation, it reads like this…..

1 Readiness standards vary widely across states and across institutions within states, which further clouds the meaning of national statistics on remedial rates.

The report glibly slides past this.  It cites CSU’s entry exam as it’s only source.  It extrapolates the national totals from CSU’s data.  California State University has 23 campuses across California.  It has required entrance standards for  each incoming freshmen class.  The reports states….

68 percent of the 50,000 entering freshmen at CSU campuses require remediation in English/language arts, math, or both…

Wow, can it really be that bad?   In one word …. no.  If one goes to CSU and I pulled 2009 to see how it compares with the NCES data above, CSU states that it deemed 33% were not proficient in math.  Not  68%.  Dropping down the page to the English comparison, and the statewide comparisons are to the right of every California High School’s data, CSU states that it deemed 34% not proficient in English…  not 68%…  So where did the 68% come from……

WELL…  if you take 33% and add 34%…. you get 67%….  and then add the decimals together, you get a few points over 68%……

Really.  REALLY?  I mean REALLY? …..  We are changing the entire curriculum of the United States of America, (its no mistake: Common Core is changing the curriculum of America) on one single report written by someone who does not know you can’t add percentages in a sum?  Really?

Did anyones ever stop to consider that if 66% of students ARE proficient in  English, and 67% of students ARE proficient in Math….. how do you make the jump that 68% of incoming freshmen are not proficient in math or english or both?  Yes…. You added them together….  (hope you weren’t drinking liquids when you read this)..

And that, is what sold the Governor’s Association on implementing Common Core, and doing so,…  completely out of the public eye.  Otherwise someone might actually crunch the numbers….

So now let us redo the national numbers with this new data, correctly reported by CSU with 33% imputed instead of 68%…. Here is where I’ll use others to collaborate. ….  But working off page with the same formula and NCES data above….  I come up with a gap of 362,480 post secondary students entering unprepared…  these are the ones who are not proficient….  Among the 1.2 million entering post secondary schools each year, that ranks at…. 30.2%..

Which means we are changing the curriculum of our schools to somewhat sketchily benefit just 12% of our entire graduating class of the total 3 million students a year….  And to help this 12%, which in numbers is almost the equivalent of the University of Phoenix’s enrollment, we are ruining the minds of the other 88%…..

For 12% (who would be considered lower C students….)

  • We are making kindergartners take bubble tests.
  • We are training elementary students how to use computers so they can take on line tests
  • We are eliminating great literature out of the curriculum.
  • We are not teaching math beyond Algebra.
  • We are cutting back on art, music, and foreign languages, because they aren’t tested.
  • We are boring our students into apathy…..
  • We failed over 70% of New York’s students!

Why?  How did this come about?

Apparently someone didn’t know you couldn’t add percents together and get a bigger sum……