American K-12 students are lagging behind their OECD peers, and by all measures, it is obvious many lack the required knowledge to answer questions that require high level thinking in mathematics and science.
Although different solutions have been tried, there is a broad consensus that high quality teachers, and high quality curriculum like the one suggested by the Common Core are possible solutions.
The uneasiness about the Common Core is understandable. Many students require remedial courses and teachers require retraining before they can teach what the Common Core requires.
Given many teachers require retraining and many students are not ready to engage in deep learning, the dispute surrounding the Common Core will continue.