Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dell Aera




education, reform, national standards, improvement, Common Core


Education reform is currently a controversial issue in the U.S. With 45 states’ adoption of the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English - the first attempt at national standards that reached implementation, public education has become a focal point for the media, educators, and parents. Most criticize the Common Core and advocate its elimination. This thesis, however, looks at the Standards in practice and seeks to use them to address deficiencies in American schools. Using a case study of Schenectady and Niskayuna, a contrast of low- and high-performing schools in the New York State Capital Region, to support media reports and existing scholarly analyses of the CCSS and education improvement, this thesis offers a full evaluation of the Standards. It concludes that, for the Common Core to be successful, improvements to teacher training and support and final exams need to be made. With these alterations and time for the Standards to affect change, the U.S. should see significant gains in student achievement and educational equality. What’s left untouched by the Common Core, however, are the issues of poverty and the inequitable distribution of resources, which need to be addressed to maintain the forward trajectory of education reform.