In Kentucky and New York, the Common Core tests caused test scores to tumble by 30 points or more.

State officials assume–with no evidence–that the scores will go up every year. What if they don’t? What if they go up only by a small increment? What if 50-60% of students don’t pass?

In New York, the “passing” rate on the Common Core tests was 30% statewide. Only 3% of English learners passed, and only 5% of students with disabilities. The pass rate for African American and Hispanic students was 15-18%.

If the state continues to insist upon a wildly unrealistic passing mark, the percentage of students who do not graduate will soar.

If Pearson aligns the GED with the Common Core, a startling number of students will never have high school diplomas of any kind. They won’t even qualify for the military. Will they be doomed to a life of poverty, of working in fast-food shops at minimum wage?

It is time to think of multiple ways to earn a diploma. It is time to think about career and technical education for students who want and deserve a chance to have a fruitful life. It is time to re-think what schools should do in addition to preparing students for college.

School should be a place for opportunity, not a single program–not one-size-fits-all, where the losers end up on the streets with no diploma and no hope.

What exactly is the point of making tests so “hard” that only 30% or 40% or maybe 50% can pass them? What will happen to those who never get a diploma? Do we really want to manufacture failure, knowing that those who fail will be those who already have the fewest advantages in life? As we follow this path, what kind of a society will we be 10 years from now?