Member Group : From the Kitchen Table

The phrase "college-and-career-ready" dominates Common Core rhetoric, as if it is the Holy Grail of educational endeavors. Even kindergarten activities are now supposed to be college and career ready.

Who could possibly argue with wanting our children to be ready for college and careers?

Obviously, no one.

Making sure our children are college and career ready is the answer to all of America’s educational woes. All we need to do is aim everything done in our schools at reaching this goal. The Common Core standards are being promoted as the mechanism for achieving this.

There is only one set of standards, which must be attained by every school and every student; therefore, there must be only one definition for what it means to be college and career ready. Logically, that would mean that there is only one appropriate way to prepare for every college, every major course of study, and every career.

So, a child aiming at a career as a linguist and a child aiming at a career as an aerospace engineer and a child aiming at a career as an orchestra musician would all need to take the same course of study and meet the same standards.

A reasonable person might question how success in three such disparate careers could possibly be achieved through one single set of standards, unless the intent is that every child would be prepared to speak several…

languages, solve multi-dimensional mathematical equations, and expertly play a musical instrument. And that would only cover three careers, out of the thousands available.

In fact, there is no such thing as one single definition for "college and career ready". Every college has its own definition for readiness, every major course of study needs a different kind of academic background, and every career requires unique preparation. The definition of readiness is as varied as the number of colleges, majors, and careers.

"College and career ready" is a marketing slogan, just like the musical "Bam ba dum bum bam bam bum" that follows the words "we are farmers" in the insurance commercial. And just like the syllables in the commercial, they have no actual meaning. They just sound good.

In the end, they are nothing more than gibberish.