In K-12 education, there is nothing more controversial than the Common Core State Standards, national academic standards in English and math. Adopted by more than 40 states, they were developed, in part, to address concerns that American students were falling behind their foreign counterparts and graduating high school without the necessary skills for college and the workforce. But is this the reform we've been looking for? Has the federal government overreached and saddled our schools with standards that have been flawed from the start? Or will the Common Core raise the bar and improve the quality of our children's education?
Carol Burris, Ed.D. has been the principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York since 2000. She was named the 2013 NASSP New York High School Principal of the Year and the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the New York State School Administrators Association. In addition to leading her diverse suburban high school which is renowned for giving all students challenging curriculum, Carol has authored or co-authored three books as well as numerous journal articles on equity and excellence in schools. Carol is a staunch advocate of school and classroom desegregation. At the same time, she is an outspoken opponent of many of the Race to the Top reforms, including the Common Core. Carol frequently blogs on Valerie Strauss’s “Answersheet,” which appears in the Washington Post.
An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include Cage-Busting Leadership, Education Unbound, and Common Sense School Reform. He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind. A former high school teacher, Hess currently teaches at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania and serves as executive editor for the influential education journal Education Next.
Carmel Martin is the executive vice president for policy at American Progress. She manages policy across issue areas and is a key member of CAP’s executive team. Before joining American Progress, Martin was the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education. In this position, she led the department’s policy and budget development activities and served as a senior advisor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Prior to coming to the Department of Education, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. She also previously worked at American Progress as the associate director for domestic policy, and in the Senate as chief counsel and senior policy adviser to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman and special counsel to former Sen. Tom Daschle
Mike Petrilli is an award-winning writer and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of the country’s most influential education-policy think tanks. He is the author of The Diverse Schools Dilemma and co-editor of Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core. Petrilli is also a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and executive editor of Education Next. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg View, and Wall Street Journal and has been a guest on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and Fox, as well as several National Public Radio programs. Petrilli helped to create the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and Young Education Professionals.