What People Are Saying

Support for Overcoming the Honesty Gap

William Bennett, secretary of education under President Reagan: “The ‘Honesty Gap’ is a serious problem, but, of course, it is not new. Intentional or not, many states have been offering less than truthful and accurate definitions of proficiency for far too long. Fortunately, most states are no longer ignoring this problem and are working to correct it with higher standards and assessments designed to test to these rigorous academic expectations.” 

Dr. Carlos Campo, NHCLC/CONEL education directive leader, president-elect at Ashland University and founder of the Faith & Education Coalition: “The gap between reported student success and actual student success harms no one more than the children of poor and minority families. The Faith & Education Coalition wants to see this gap closed, and we believe a best first step is to raise educational standards across all states. We are confident that as states report more effectively and implement more rigorous standards, our students can and will rise to the challenge.”

Michael Cohen, president of Achieve: “Parents and educators deserve honest, accurate information about how well their students are performing, and the extent to which they have a solid foundation for their continued learning. Tests are not the only source of this information, but they are certainly an important one. We don’t do our students any favors if we don’t level with them when test results come back.”

Lori Michalec, English teacher in Tallmadge, Ohio and 2015 Ohio State Teacher of the Year: “As most states have settled into new rigorous learning standards with aligned tests, I hope to find that cross-state comparisons will now be more authentic. As results are analyzed and shared, it is my hope that – coupled with the dedication and innovation of today’s teacher leaders – we will see progress towards eliminating barriers and rectifying the inequities in how states report proficiency data. Only then can our examination of state data ever hope to more genuinely reflect student proficiency with any degree of accuracy.”

Chris Minnich, executive director, Council of Chief State School Officers: “States recognize that these gaps have existed in the past and are taking the lead to address them by raising academic standards and creating new tests to better support all students. We are in the middle of a transition period in every state. Now is not the time to return to lower standards or simpler tests, but to work together to improve the tools we use to support all teachers and students.” 

Jan Northstar, lieutenant colonel, United States Army (Retired): “Military families live with constant transitions and changes—including numerous moves throughout a student’s K-12 career. They deserve an honest, consistent picture of how their kids are doing in school so they can adjust properly when changing schools and ensure that their children are prepared for life after high school – no matter what state they reside in.”

Karen Nussle, executive director, Collaborative for Student Success: “The ‘Honesty Gap’ is the result of a lack of political courage from some policymakers who are afraid to come clean to parents about the fact that our students are not prepared for college or the workforce. The good news is that many states are and have been working to address this gap by adopting higher, comparable standards and implementing high quality tests to measure student progress and give parents real information. Unfortunately, there are others that want to go backwards and keep us mediocre at best. Parents should demand education policies and reforms that bring transparency, truth-telling and results to K-12 public education.”

Michael Petrilli, president, Thomas B. Fordham Institute: “Our education system has been lying to children, parents, and teachers for far too long. Thankfully, by standing up for higher standards and tougher tests, our elected officials are finally closing the honesty gap. No young person should arrive on campus or a job interview thinking they are prepared when they aren’t. Let’s put that problem in the history books.”

Honesty Gap by State