Critics charged that Bloomberg was overstating the numbers of teachers who scored low on tests. Michael Di Carlo of the Albert Shanker Institute looked for the sources of this assertion and found that about 30 percent of teachers who graduated from college in 1992– 1993 were in the bottom quartile, and only 40.9 percent were from the top half of those taking SAT/ ACT tests. Data on a different set of teachers— 1999 college graduates who also took SAT/ ACT tests and whose first job was teaching— showed that 47 percent came from the bottom third, 29 percent from the middle, and 23 percent from the top third of test takers.

Andreas Schleicher of the OECD, which monitors trends in the world’s economically advanced countries, summarized the funding situation in this way: “The bottom line is that the vast majority of OECD countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.” An OECD report concluded: The United States is one of only three OECD countries in which, for example, socio-economically disadvantaged schools have to cope with less favourable student-teacher ratios than socio-economically advantaged schools, which implies that students from disadvantaged backgrounds may end up with considerably lower spending per student.

The abandonment of the Common Core would be a particular disadvantage for children from low-income families, who are currently being offered an inferior education, as the data presented earlier indicate. The Common Core may be their best prospect for receiving a more demanding curriculum.

Over the course of American history, the federal government has also been involved in schooling. This federal involvement in education for more than two centuries may surprise some who believe that the Tenth Amendment forbids federal support of the schools. The Tenth Amendment, enacted in 1791, reserves to the states and to the people respectively powers not delegated by the Constitution to the federal government nor prohibited by it to the states.

Throughout these fifty years, whenever the federal government has identified a problem in education and adopted a policy to address it, states and school districts have taken note and directed their attention to that issue. With the 1965 passage of ESEA, the education of disadvantaged children became a focus for educators. When federal courts in the early 1970s ruled that the education of children with disabilities had to be improved, states and school districts began a reform that led to national legislation affecting all states and schools. In 2011, when the Department of Education required states to change their systems of teacher evaluation in order to receive a waiver from the provisions of NCLB, the states took action.

Throughout these fifty years, whenever the federal government has identified a problem in education and adopted a policy to address it, states and school districts have taken note and directed their attention to that issue. With the 1965 passage of ESEA, the education of disadvantaged children became a focus for educators. When federal courts in the early 1970s ruled that the education of children with disabilities had to be improved, states and school districts began a reform that led to national legislation affecting all states and schools. In 2011, when the Department of Education required states to change their systems of teacher evaluation in order to receive a waiver from the provisions of NCLB, the states took action.

Children from low-income families are particularly harmed by a low-expectations attitude about the content taught. The Department of Education recently documented stark racial and ethnic disparities in course offerings. Eighty-one percent of Asian American high school students and 71 percent of white high school students attend high schools that offer the full range of math and science courses (algebra I, geometry, algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics). However, fewer than half of American Indian and Native Alaskan high school students are in high schools with the full range of math and science courses. Black students (57 percent), Latino students (67 percent), students with disabilities (63 percent), and English language learners (65 percent) also have diminished access to the full range of courses.

.