Common Core critics offer too little, too late


There are two big problems with the hysteria from right-wing critics and teachers’ unions over Common Core: lack of easily available alternatives with comparable rigor to Common Core standards, and timing. In more than 40 states, Common Core is already happening, although the implementation issues are not trivial.

Let’s start with the sort of data that prompted state education experts to rally around the idea of national standards: “U.S. schools seem to do as badly teaching those from better-educated families as they do teaching those from less well educated families. Overall, the U.S. proficiency rate in math (35 percent) places the country at the 27th rank among the 34 OECD countries that participated in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). That ranking is somewhat lower for students from advantaged backgrounds (28th) than for those from disadvantaged ones (20th).” Regardless of the educational backgrounds of their parents, U.S. kids do worse than their international counterparts. U.S. students at the low end do worse than foreign kids of parents with minimal education. (“Only 17 percent of these U.S. students are proficient in math . . . . This is half or less than the percentage of similarly situated students (those whose parents also have low levels of education) in Korea (46%), the Netherlands (37%), Germany (35%), and Japan (34%).”


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