We need higher and common education standards, argue former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
The Common Core State Standards define what students need to know; they do not define how teachers should teach, or how students should learn. That is up to each state. And they are built on what we have learned from high-performing international competitors as well as the best practices in leading states.
. . . research shows that rigorous mastery of fractions is crucial for later math performance. The Common Core State Standards provide clear grade-by-grade goals for what students should know about fractions, built on the best practices of high-performing countries. In literacy, what most predicts college readiness is the ability to read and understand complex texts. The Common Standards set clear benchmarks for each grade for students reading sufficiently complex texts in English, history/social studies, science and technical subjects.
Bush and Klein make the case against common standards, contends Greg Forster on Jay Greene’s blog. They argue that states, not the federal government, should set education policy. But the feds have pushed states to adopt Common Core Standards by threatening loss of Title I funds; the testing consortia are federally funded.
Furthermore, what’s so great about commonality?
If states should lead the way, if what we want is a decentralized 50-state laboratory of democracy, why not actually do that instead of rounding up all the states to all do it one way?
I wish a few states with strong standards and an established test, such as Massachusetts, had resisted pressure to jump on the Common Core bandwagon. It would be nice to see a few laboratories of democracy.