​The debate over Common Core

Other states -- like North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana and Oklahoma -- are either rethinking the Core, or have already dropped it.

And then there's New York State, where our story takes an unlikely turn.

Crawford said, "A lot of people think a lot of the criticism is from conservatives, from Tea Party groups."

Carol Burris, the principal of South Side High School on New York's Long Island, one of the top-rated schools in the country, told Crawford, "In New York and California -- now these are two very blue states -- in one year the Common Core has gone from majority approval to majority disapproval.

"There's nothing wrong with having standards," Burris said. "Schools should have standards. States should have standards. But they've got to be good standards, and they have to be realistic standards."

And Common Core, Burris said, are neither.

A self-described progressive who campaigned for President Obama, Burris has now found common ground on the Common Core with her political opposites. That's thanks in part to test questions that she says are too hard, or just plain confusing. Like this one for first graders:

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CBS News

"These [answers] are all adding," said Crawford.

"Yep. I have no idea," said Burris. "To be honest with you, I still haven't figured it out."

After raising her concerns in a letter to the President, Burris got a reply from Mr. Obama, disagreeing with her, but praising her school.

"Where have you been keeping this letter now?" Crawford asked.

"In a closet," said Burris. "I just can't bear to look at it. It would just be too much of a reminder of the hope that I once had that is now gone."

That hopelessness turned to anger last fall, when Secretary Duncan made a controversial remark. He stated that "white suburban moms" are opposing the Common Core because it shows that "their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were."

That, Burris told Crawford, "was the most incredibly insulting statement I have ever heard a Secretary of Education make. You know, he walked back a little bit of the remark, but not enough."

Duncan told Crawford, "I made one sentence that I didn't say perfectly, and I apologized for that. But for me the goal, again, is to have high standards for everyone."

But is that goal even possible?

When asked if she believes Common Core will survive, Burris said no: "I think parents are going to continue to push back. So I guess you could say that I'm doing my best to make what I think is inevitable happen faster."

But back in Tampa, supporters see something else as inevitable: classrooms nationwide that look like this one, where a teacher tells her students discussing a standard algorithm that they're "stepping outside of the box."

"We have been improving standards in this country in education since 1680," she said. "I don't know of a parent, when I speak to them, that doesn't want their child to be well-prepared for college or career when they walk out of high school."


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