Here's an assumption few would dispute: Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much. And in the year leading up to a big election, it can seem like we don't agree on anything. These moments—when big, important issues get obscured or distorted by partisan squabbling—are low points, no doubt.
Yet despite what you may have heard from politicians and pundits on the very far right, there's one policy that can still accurately be described as bipartisan: the effort by states to ensure teachers teach to and students learn by academic goals that will help students master what they need to know to be successful in college and the workplace. Yes, I am referring to the Common Core State Standards.
Here's the thing: politicians have been setting forth declarations to overhaul our education system for decades—spanning from the Reagan-era A Nation at Risk to President Clinton's Goals 2000 to today. This focus on our education system—particularly how it serves our most disadvantaged students—has produced achievements.
But what has not changed is that we have a system that essentially decides for a child if they are college material. For example, while the number of Latino students enrolled in college has tripled, less than one third of first-time students earn a degree in four years—compared to more than 40 percent of their white peers. Getting more students into college is a great accomplishment, but in order to truly help ensure that all of our young people are positioned for a healthy and financially secure future, we must make sure that they're prepared to complete college.
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