Is one of these clearly intellectually stronger than the other? Why should we think they would be, since the NECAP standards were published in 2006 and closely aligned to Achieve’s American Diploma Project standards, which were a direct precursor to the Common Core standards? There was no breakthrough in our understanding of high school or collegiate English in the intervening three years.
In terms of writing, it depends on if you believe that being “intellectually stronger” requires an almost singular focus on one particular type of formal, logical, academic argument. If you believe that writing for self-expression or aesthetic reasons makes you intellectually weak, you may agree with Dr. Adams and Common Core proponents. On the whole, though, at the high school level Rhode Island’s old and new writing standards are more similar than different.
People don’t trust the Common Core because most of what what we have been told about the standards is obviously not true. Some people are a bit confused about exactly which bits are the lies, but it is no wonder given the context.