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Cheryl Oldham is the Vice President for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

ODYSSEY_170Should states only set educational standards that are easily attainable? Apparently, that’s what many critics of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) believe. This notion should drive every parent insane. Personally, as a mother of two young boys–one in preschool, the other about to begin 5th grade in public school–I shudder to think that the expectations placed on my kids are only just enough to be attainable. Because, goodness, (begin sarcasm font) we wouldn’t want them to be challenged to achieve great things!

For decades, we have been dishonest with parents and students, and told them they were on track even though the data tells a different story. Fifty percent of undergraduates and 70% of community college students must take at least one remedial course because they are underprepared. Proficiency rates on state assessments look great, but when compared to the Nation’s Report Card, the numbers drop dramatically, particularly for low-income and minority students. States have set mediocre, dare I say “attainable,” standards so that passage rates on assessments are acceptable to adults, and so states/districts/schools can escape accountability.

What do we have to show for those “attainable” standards? A pitiful 12th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math when compared to other developed nations, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Who suffers as a result of these chronically low standards? As always, the answer is our kids. It is the student who has been told for years, “you’re on track, and you’re prepared,” only to find out that encouragement was woefully misguided.

We’re finally in a place where 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted rigorous college and career-ready standards. Instead of saying, “finally, thank goodness we are raising the bar to make sure that our students are learning what they should be across the board,” critics are finding any reason to oppose and support the old way of thinking.

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post. Read the full story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheryl-oldham/raising-the-bar-for-educa_b_3868920.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123