Press Release

OAKLAND, CA (December 10, 2012) – Timed with the release of a new Education Trust——West (ETW) report, Catching up to the Core: Common Sense Strategies for Accelerating Access to the Common Core in California, a group of prominent advocates and education leaders are calling on California’s leaders to fully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.

““Over the past two years, California has lagged in efforts to implement the Common Core while other states have accelerated forward,” said Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, a statewide education policy, research, and advocacy organization. “With so many examples of progress, state leaders have run out of excuses. Catching up to the Core should be their top priority.”

The ETW report finds that California has fallen far behind other states and even local school districts in implementing the new English Language Arts and Math CCSS. This lack of progress will leave millions of California students trailing their peers in other states, two years before new assessments aligned with the Common Core are expected to come online.

“Districts know that students will benefit from the Common Core State Standards, but many are struggling with implementation,” said Rick Miller, Executive Director of the California Office to Reform Education (CORE). “State leaders must provide the critical supports that districts need to ensure that they successfully make the transition to the Common Core.”

While a number of pioneering California districts have sought to fill this vacuum with local efforts, many more are waiting for state leadership. The state’s failure to support districts in providing all students with access to high-quality, standards-based instruction will leave low-income, Latino, African-American, and English learner students even more unprepared for college and the workplace.

“California should provide every student with access to these powerful new education standards,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “It’s not good enough for the benefits of the Common Core to reach students in just a few forward-thinking districts. State leaders must support the rural and low-income schools that serve so many of our English learners.”

The report profiles best practices for implementing the CCSS in other states and school districts, including some in California. It highlights promising work in teacher professional development, instructional materials, technology, and alignment with systems of higher education, particularly in teacher preparation.

“Without high-quality professional development, educators will not be properly supported to teach the Common Core,” said John Lee, Executive Director of Teach Plus Los Angeles. “It is imperative that teachers are meaningfully involved in Common Core implementation to ensure that our students have access to rigorous standards-based instruction.”

The report concludes with common sense recommendations for California policymakers. These include improving public understanding of the Common Core, expanding educator professional development, aligning instructional materials, and addressing technology infrastructure and capacity.

“Uniform and equitable implementation of Common Core is essential to California’s future. If we fail to ensure that every student in every California district enjoys the benefits of successful implementation, we will have lost a singular opportunity to improve our state’s future competitiveness in the global economy,” said Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund). “This report includes important recommendations to assist California in satisfying the imperative of successful and comprehensive implementation of Common Core,” he concluded.

To read the full report, click here.

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About California Office to Reform Education (CORE)
The California Office to Reform Education (CORE) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve student achievement by fostering highly-productive, meaningful collaboration and learning between its eight member school districts: Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Sanger Unified. Together these districts serve more than one million Californian students and their families. For more information on CORE, please visit:

About The Education Trust—West
The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps. For more information on The Education Trust—West, please visit:  

About MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

About NCLR (National Council of La Raza)
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.  For more information on NCLR, please visit

About Teach Plus
Teach Plus is a national non-profit based in Boston, whose mission is to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of reform: Teaching Policy Fellows, the Teach Plus Network, and T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in national, state, and district policy. Teach Plus began with 16 founding teachers from urban district and charter schools in Greater Boston. Since its inception as a non-profit in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of nearly 10,000 solutions-oriented teachers in six major cities across the country. For more information on Teach Plus, please visit: