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Event Summary

Since adopting the Common Core State Standards, many US schools have begun rolling out new assessments and professional development and buying new textbooks and instructional materials. But how can education policymakers, practitioners, and advocates ensure quality of instruction and alignment to the standards? In a Google Hangout discussion on Monday, AEI’s Michael McShane was joined by Maryland State Superintendent Lillian Lowery and several authors of the recently published volume “Common Core Meets Education Reform” to discuss challenges of implementing the standards nationwide.

Stemming from Devon Carlson of the University of Oklahoma’s overview of the Common Core’s accountability challenges, there was a unanimous cry for increased communication surrounding proficiency definitions, assessment models, governance structure, and similar topics. Panelists argued that such communication could ease many headaches for both advocates and opponents of the Common Core. Patrick McGuinn of Drew University spoke of the governance challenges with the standards, asking “who, if anyone, should we task with overseeing the implementation now and further down the road?”

The Center on Reinventing Public Education’s Ashley Jochim then presented both sides of whether the Common Core initiative is at risk of failing. Panelists ultimately concluded on a positive note, expressing faith that the communication and implementation challenges could be overcome.
–Lauren Empson

Event Description

Can the Common Core State Standards complement rather than conflict with school improvement efforts already underway across the United States, and can they be seamlessly integrated into accountability systems, teacher preparation and development, charter schools, and educational technology?

During this Google Hangout, prominent scholars, policy analysts, and practitioners will convene to offer insight into what happens when rubber meets the road and the Common Core standards are implemented in schools nationwide. Regardless of whether you agree with the standards, the Common Core is coming, and it is critical that we fully understand the unanticipated consequences and what policymakers, practitioners, and advocates can do to anticipate and address these tensions.

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Join the conversation on Twitter on with #CCMeetsRA and submit your questions on the Google Plus page! If you do not have a Google Plus account, we invite you to watch the Hangout live on this page.


3:30 PM
Michael Q. McShane, AEI

3:35 PM
Deven Carlson, University of Oklahoma
Ashley Jochim, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Lillian Lowery, Maryland State Superintendent
Patrick McGuinn, Drew University
Michael Q. McShane, AEI

4:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Lauren Empson at [email protected], 202.862.5859.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Deven Carlson is assistant professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. He joined the faculty of the political science department in fall 2012. His research interests include the relationship between individuals’ educational experiences and their later-life participation in the political process, as well as the operations and effects of education policies — particularly school-choice policies, public policy, and research design and causal inference. His work has been published in journals such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Urban Economics, the Economics of Education Review, and Educational Policy.

Ashley Jochim
is a research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington. Her research expertise includes performance management, state education policy, district governance, and the politics of education. Her work can be found in the Policy Studies Journal and Political Research Quarterly, as well as numerous edited volumes including the Handbook of School Choice and the Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy. In 2012, she was selected as one of a dozen emerging education policy scholars interested in narrowing the gap between research and policy. She is a regular contributor at national political science and public policy conferences. Before working at CRPE, she was a graduate fellow at the Center for American Politics and Public Policy as well as a research analyst at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.

Lillian Lowery
is Maryland’s newly appointed state superintendent of schools. In assuming her new role, Lowery has worked to implement the state’s third wave of education reform, supported by the federal Race to the Top grant. Before coming to Maryland, Lowery was appointed secretary of education for the state of Delaware. During her time there, Delaware was selected as the first state to be awarded the Race to the Top grant to put systemic education reform into practice. Lowery has also served as a middle-school English teacher in North Carolina and Virginia, moving into high school and subsequently serving as a high-school assistant principal, a minority student achievement monitor, a high-school principal, an assistant superintendent in Fairfax County Public Schools, and superintendent of the Christina School District in Delaware. On the national and international stage, Lowery has presented her numerous publications on standards-based learning, minority achievement, and school leadership.

Patrick McGuinn is associate professor of political science and education and chair of the political science department at Drew University. McGuinn’s first book, “No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965–2005” (University Press of Kansas, 2006), was honored as a Choice outstanding academic title. He is the editor (with Paul Manna) of “Education Governance for the 21st Century: Overcoming the Structural Barriers to School Reform” (Brookings Institution Press, 2013). McGuinn has produced a number of policy reports for AEI, the Center for American Progress, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and is a regular commentator on education in media outlets such as Education Week, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New Jersey’s Star Ledger. He is a former high-school social studies teacher.

Michael McShane is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI. He is coauthor of “President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). His scholarship has been published by Education Finance and Policy and in various technical reports. He has contributed to more popular publications such as Education Next, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is coeditor of the forthcoming book “Common Core Meets the Reform Agenda” (with Frederick Hess), slated to be published by Teachers College Press in November 2013. He began his career as an inner-city high-school teacher in Montgomery, Alabama.

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