We know that the CCSS has led to a shift in reading assessments that have been around for a long time. For example, reading experts Fountas and Pinnell used to suggest that ending kindergarten in the A-C of books range was okay. Now, with the CCSS-informed shift, if a student has not progressed past level B by the beginning of first grade, he is designated as requiring “Intensive Intervention.”
One reason even the most cold-blooded, cost/benefit analysis-driven, technocratic discussions of the Common Core are so ungrounded is that not enough attention is paid to the point McLaughlin makes at the end here: that failure to meet a standard should by definition be regarded as something that requires fairly specific, directed intervention. Or... perhaps not?
Recent standards tend to be aspirational in their drive for more "rigor." They delineate things which are demonstrably possible for some students, and perhaps desirable for all. But particularly at the early elementary level, what we don't know is if they are so necessary that a failure to meet the standard indicates a deficit with serious long-term implications. We don't know if we're investing untold millions in "remediating" students unnecessarily, particularly when considering the opportunity cost in not spending money on, say enrichment for the same children (without even getting into the web of related issues like the psychological effects of unnecessarily telling a student they are "behind").